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News » San Diego Chargers Strategy and Personnel 2008-08-18

San Diego Chargers Strategy and Personnel 2008-08-18

San Diego Chargers Strategy and Personnel 2008-08-18
--CB Antonio Cromartie had a cyst removed from his wrist Friday and didn't travel with the team to St. Louis. Cromartie, who also has been nursing a tender ankle, is expected to return to practice on Monday.

--WR Vincent Jackson is back working in team drills after being absent for nine practices with a tender hamstring. He didn't play against the Rams but should resume practicing this week.

--DE Luis Castillo has yet to play in an exhibition game and is a rare sight in practice. But the team swears his tender back will not be an issue.

--RT Jeromey Clary had his hands full with the Rams' Leonard Little and was pushed around too much to the Chargers' liking. That might give L.J. Shelton life in his bid to supplant Clary.

--C Nick Hardwick is making progress in rehabbing his foot, but he still seems to be a long-shot to be ready for the Sept. 7 opener.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Ryon Bingham vs. Brandon McKinney for backup DT -- It's going to happen, sooner rather than later, that the team will be without Pro Bowl DT Jamal Williams. In fact, that day has already come to a degree as the team has to monitor Williams' sore knees on a daily basis. That means more time for someone in a backup role, and so far Bingham is filling in on a regular basis. Bingham has the edge on McKinney, although the beefier McKinney is seeing action on short-yardage situations. But Bingham will get the first call when the Chargers want to give Williams a blow.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Tim Dobbins vs. Brandon Siler for backup ILB -- Dobbins got an extended look early last season and the results weren't good. But he's come to camp this season more in tuned to what the Chargers are asking of him, which allows him to be the physical player he is without having to think too much. Siler was expected to push him more for the responsibility of backing up Matt Wilhelm. But to date, Siler is falling a bit short. ... Derek Smith vs. Anthony Waters for backup ILB -- The competition to play behind Stephen Cooper -- and start the first four games when the suspended Cooper is out -- hasn't been as crisp as the team hoped. It knew what it was getting in the veteran Smith, and so far he has played as advertised. It was hoping Waters could give Smith a run, but Waters' knee hasn't cooperated. He had to have it cleaned out on the eve of training camp and he is just now getting back into the groove; he has played in both preseason games. But it appears Smith has the edge.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: CB Antoine Cason -- Cason capped a solid week of practice with his first NFL interception in the game at St. Louis. Not only did Cason break well and quickly on the Marc Bulger pass, but he showed his athletic skills as well when returning it 53 yards. Coach Norv Turner continues to say how excited he is about the team's first-round pick, who has all but sewed up the nickel back role. He got to start against the Rams, as Turner rested his starters.

ROOKIE REPORT: CB Antoine Cason has continued to play well. ... RB/FB Jacob Hester had his second straight strong performance in a game, leading the Chargers with 59 yards on 12 carries. ... FB Mike Tolbert, an undrafted free agent, is playing well and could force himself onto the roster. ... RB Marcus Thomas had 14 yards on just three carries against the Rams.

INJURY REPORT: TE Antonio Gates (toe) is amping up his side work.

C Nick Hardwick (foot) could miss the season's first month.

OL Scott Mruczkowski (foot) will undergo an MRI this week.

DE Luis Castillo's back is not considered serious.

OT Marcus McNeill has a neck stinger but should return this week.

FB Andrew Pinnock (knee) is getting better.

RB Darren Sproles' knee is thought to be a bruise.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: August 18, 2008

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