Chargers Report 8-24

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Aug 21, 2006

August 24, 2006

It has sounded strange all summer, the idea there is open competition for the Chargers' backup quarterback spot.

After all, the two candidates are A.J. Feeley, who has been in the NFL since 2001 and started 13 games, and Charlie Whitehurst, who was drafted in April. Considering Philip Rivers has yet to make his first pro start, would the Chargers really put a rookie at No. 2?

They certainly don't appear to have ruled it out.

“There's very keen competition between those two right now,” coach Marty Schottenheimer said.

“There's always competition at the position,” Feeley said. “ .... Everywhere I've gone I've had to deal with competition.”

Feeley and Whitehurst have rotated all summer in practice between No. 2 and No. 3. Feeley got the first chance in the opening exhibition game (5-of-10, 49 yards), followed by Whitehurst (6-of-12, 50 yards). Last week only Whitehurst played (11-of-19, 97 yards, one interception), but both are expected to get a chance in Saturday's game against Seattle.

“I just need to play and lead the guys down the field,” said Feeley, who was acquired from Miami in October along with a sixth-round draft choice in exchange for quarterback Cleo Lemon.

Front secure?
If things go the way the Chargers hope – that the young players continue to improve and negotiations go well – the team will have its offensive line intact for some time.
Tackle Marcus McNeill, a rookie signed through 2009, has moved into the starting lineup already. Center Nick Hardwick signed a six-year extension in June. And the team is working – to various degrees – on extensions for left guard Kris Dielman and right tackle Shane Olivea.

Representatives for Dielman and Olivea would not comment, and the Chargers do not discuss ongoing negotiations, but it is believed those extensions would come during the season.

Dielman, who some teams believe has All-Pro potential, will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. Olivea will be a restricted free agent.

Closer to having a deal wrapped up is linebacker Stephen Cooper, according to sources. Cooper's agent said only that the two sides are interested in getting a deal done. The Chargers showed how much they think of Cooper by giving him a first-round tender in the offseason, meaning he will make $1.552 million this year. Cooper would be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Nuts 'n' Bolts
Where just recently there was quiet, there is now significant activity. As of last night, no deal had been struck, but sources said yesterday the Chargers are entertaining suitors for linebacker Donnie Edwards. Available for trade since April and at odds with management, Edwards has not practiced since the first day of training camp because of a bad back. The Saints last week offered a fourth-round pick for Edwards, but Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith is likely to hold out for a first-day pick.
McNeill left midway through yesterday's practice with an unspecified hand injury. Tight end Antonio Gates (hamstring tightness) also did not finish practice. Defensive end Luis Castillo (shoulder) skipped practice but said his injury was minor.

As expected, not enough tickets have been sold to lift the blackout for Saturday's game. KFMB Channel 8 will air a delayed broadcast at 11:35 p.m.
Nothing Earth shattering here, but I am glad to see that Cooper is close to getting locked up.

I wonder which teams are interested in Dielman?