Edwards eager for a laugher

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Oct 14, 2005

By: JAY PARIS - Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO ---- Scared of tiptoeing into the Black Hole? Not Chargers linebacker Donnie Edwards, the team's top tackler.

"The fans are really into it and it kind of pumps you up,'' Edwards said of the Chargers' date with the host Oakland Raiders on Sunday. "And if you get ahead of them, you can look back at them and say, 'ha, ha.'''

Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer's record against the Raiders is no joke. A win this weekend pushes Schottenheimer mark to 24-7 against the Silver and Black.

"He knows how to beat these guys,'' said Edwards, who played for Schottenheimer when both were with the Chiefs. "Even in Kansas City, we never lost to them. He has the ingredients.''

The Chargers are sizzling against the Raiders. They have won three straight over Oakland, and two of the past three at McAfee Coliseum.

No big deal? Hardly.

In a series that dates to 1960, the Chargers have won three straight only three times. The only time they won four in a row was in the franchise's first three seasons. Actually, the Chargers claimed their first six matchups against the Raiders.

Overall, though, the Raiders own a 54-34-2 advantage in the regular season and they are 1-0 in the playoffs.

Run defense

The Raiders are feeling better about their run defense, which is ranked No. 11 while allowing 99.3 yards per game. The switch to the 4-3 alignment has helped, along with the play of younger players such as former San Diego State linebacker Kirk Morrison.

"We're playing a lot of young guys 30 to 50 plays a game,'' Raiders coach Norv Turner said. "Kirk Morrison is one of those guys. Sometimes when you play that many young guys, you pay for it. It's cost us in some situations, but it's helping us. We're faster and more athletic. We are improving.''

Added Turner about Morrison, the Raiders' leading tackler: "(He) has good change of direction, good quickness, and he's picked things up real quick. He's very instinctive."

Quick hits

CB Drayton Florence (ankle) skipped practice Thursday and has yet to practice this week. His availability appears to be a game-time decision. If he can't go, Sammy Davis would get his first start of the season. ... RT Shane Olivea (knee) didn't practice. He's a tough guy with a high tolerance for pain, so he likely will start on Sunday. But if he can't last the entire game, Leander Jordan would replace him. ... Others who did not work were LG Toniu Fonoti (broken hand) and TE Ryan Krause (foot); neither will play Sunday. RB/KR/PR Darren Sproles (ankle) didn't practice and is questionable. He should go Sunday. WR Eric Parker was a new addition to the injury list with a sore back. But he's probable. ... LB Steve Foley (abdominal) was able to practice.