Coach admits LT needed ball more

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LT teh ghost

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Aug 18, 2005
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Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith said he felt "terrible" yesterday.

However, that is not to be interpreted as remorse.

Quite simply, his mental state had to do with the fact his team did not win on Sunday.

Smith knew one reason the Dallas Cowboys left San Diego with a 28-24 victory was that Antonio Gates did not play.

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"I think if he were just on the field, just the threat would have made a difference," Smith said yesterday.

He also knew he was partly responsible for Gates' absence.

That does not mean Smith would do anything differently if given the opportunity.

"I don't regret anything I've done," he said.

Smith is the one who set the stage to place Antonio Gates on the Roster Exempt List last month, which resulted in the All-Pro tight end missing the season-opening loss to the Cowboys.

The GM acknowledged from the beginning that sending a letter notifying Gates he had to report by Aug. 20 or miss three games (two preseason) was a risk. But Smith felt the threat helped end Gates' holdout as quickly as it did. Gates missed the deadline, reporting one day later. And after a face-to-face meeting between Gates and Smith on Aug. 21, Gates signed a six-year contract extension on Aug. 22.

"Once the letter was delivered I felt we would get a deal," Smith said yesterday. "I was correct. . . . I would love to have it both ways. I knew it would be difficult to have one of our key players out."

Agree or disagree – and much of San Diego appears ready to have his head – Smith was forthright in a league where half-truth is akin to full disclosure.

Chargers players and their head coach continued to publicly decline any acknowledgment Gates' absence might have hurt.

"Guys work too hard to say 'What if,' " offensive tackle Roman Oben said.

Head coach Marty Schottenheimer said there could possibly have been an enhanced opportunity or two had Gates been in the game.

"It is what it is," Schottenheimer said. "He was not available. We knew that going in, and we still had every opportunity to win the game, even in his absence. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it."

Well, Gates was activated yesterday (at the expense of Landon Trusty, who was released). And while they feigned indifference at his absence, the Chargers certainly are happy Gates is going to play Sunday at Denver.

"I think teams are going to have to play us more honest," running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. "It's going to be good. We should be able to do a lot more in the run game and in the passing game."

Tomlinson, of all people, knows how Gates can help. Concerned about the threat of Gates catching passes, it is unlikely teams will choose to flood the line of scrimmage as consistently as the Cowboys did Sunday. And if they did, they would be more likely to pay, considering Gates caught 81 passes, including 13 for touchdowns and 55 for first downs, in 2004.

Yesterday was the rare day in which Tomlinson was not smiling. He faced repeated questions about touching the ball so infrequently against the Cowboys. He reiterated he is not going to demand the ball.

"That's not me," he said.


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It is almost assured Tomlinson will touch the ball more than the 19 times he did Sunday, a total that for the first time in his career included no receptions.

"As we reflected back on it we probably could have tried to get the ball to him more than we did," Schottenheimer said.

As much as the Chargers and their fans were shocked by the loss to Dallas, not considered at the outset to be among the stiffest challenges on the Chargers' formidable schedule, there remain 15 games to be played.

Schottenheimer told his team that the Dallas game was "an opportunity missed." He also told them the season is "a marathon."

True enough, though that marathon reaches a crucial early mile marker in Denver, where the Chargers face a fellow AFC West opponent, which also lost unexpectedly Sunday.

The Broncos might be without two important players. All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey dislocated a shoulder in the Broncos' loss at Miami, and running back Mike Anderson separated cartilage in his ribs.

"It's very important," Oben said. "Somebody is going to be 0-2 after this game."
 

SDRay

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You got the best running back in the NFL and he touches it once during their last drive.

Yes Dallas was blitzing. But we had the ball on the 7 with timeouts. We should have brought in 2 TE with Neal at FB and at least try to power our way into the endzone. We did it on our 1st scoring drive so I'm pretty confident that witch 4 cracks, we could have gained 8 yards on the ground.

The coaches will learn from this last game. Look for LT to get 25-30 carries this week at Denver.
 

BasPilot

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Blitz or not, if you hand the ball off you can beat a blitz some times. Think about corner blitzes, where do they go? The blitz side end will flare OUT a little to make sure the tackle picks him up, the corner then comes in off the butt of that end.... Know what that make? A hole between the tackle and end (defensively) or between the Guard and Tackle (offensively) however you look at it.

Blitzing doesn't stop the run. Throwing keeps the blitz coming.
 

BasPilot

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I'm sayin!!! And, have any of you ever played football? A pass rush is COMPLETELY different than run coverage. In a pass rush you are trying to get penetration, in run coverage you are filling gaps, trying to hold the line.... A blitz some times puts that "Pass Rush" thought on the blitzing player and often they forget to break down and cover the run. Thusly, they fly right by the running back and look like fools when it is shown on Sports Center the next day.
 

SDRay

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BasPilot said:
I'm sayin!!! And, have any of you ever played football? A pass rush is COMPLETELY different than run coverage. In a pass rush you are trying to get penetration, in run coverage you are filling gaps, trying to hold the line.... A blitz some times puts that "Pass Rush" thought on the blitzing player and often they forget to break down and cover the run. Thusly, they fly right by the running back and look like fools when it is shown on Sports Center the next day.
Exactly. Dallas knew we were going to pass. That's why they went balls out on the blitz. The Palycalling by Cam Cameron was totally predictable. I would have rather ran the ball 4 times than throw 4 times from the 7. With our line, we could have gained 7 or 8 yards easily.