Inside Slant

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#GoIrish #Aztecs #SDGulls #Raiders #THFC #RipCity
Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA
From: USA Today

Among the questions in the Chargers' camp is just who is their No. 1 receiver?

Is it Keenan McCardell at age 35?

Maybe Eric Parker, a fourth-year pro who set career-highs in three categories last season?

How about Reche Caldwell, who's bouncing back nicely from a torn ACL?

"I don't look at it like it is 1-2-3," coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "All of them have skills."

McCardell's resume still gets one's attention. A Pro Bowler twice, he has five 1,000-yard seasons and 26 100-yard games.

But can he give away some 10 years to defensive backs and still find separation?

"Keenan is not old," Parker stressed. "Maybe in football terms, but he's not out there with a walker."

McCardell still has giddy-up in his step. Among the reasons he's entering his 14th season is his jaw-dropping training regimen.

"What are there, some 400 receivers in the league?" McCardell asked. "And every day I want to outwork all of them."

Added coach Marty Schottenheimer: "He is a classic example of a savvy veteran. He has seen it all."

McCardell eye-balls the Chargers' wideouts and delivers two thumbs up. He's confident the receiving corps has the right stuff.

"We all have different skills and everyone has their little niche in the game," said McCardell, who had 31 catches for 393 yards and three touchdowns after joining the Chargers in October.

And his birth certificate data? McCardell shrugs and smiles.

"Age is just a number," McCardell said. "The field doesn't know how old you are. I just don't think about it."

CAMP CALENDAR: Aug. 25: Team breaks camp.


—With RB LaDainian Tomlinson resting Thursday, Michael Turner got the majority of playing time with the first unit against the Packers. Turner is trying to seize the job left vacant after the team released Jesse Chatman, Tomlinson's productive backup last season. Turner rushed for 70 yards on eight carries. He also collected a first-down out of the backfield when catching an 8-yard pass. "I just went out there and executed pretty good," Turner said. "I just try to get better every time I step on the field. The 5-foot-10, 237-pound Turner, a fifth-round pick in 2004 out of Northern Illinois, had 20 carries last season for 104 yards. "He reminds of a young Ahman Green," Tomlinson said.

—DeQuincy Scott, a defensive lineman who hs been working at linebacker, suffered a serious bruised thigh about midway through the second quarter and left the field on a cart. Scott collided with cornerback Sammy Davis while supplying pass coverage. "It's a pretty extensive bruise," Coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "Those kind of things can last a couple of weeks." Scott looks to rebound after a disappointing year. He battled abdominal and knee injuries last season, limiting his production to 1 1/2 sacks. In 2003, no AFC interior lineman eclipsed Scott's team-high 6 1/5 sacks that he collected in the Chargers' former 4-3 alignment.

—TE Antonio Gates remains unsigned, although coach Marty Schottenheimer said he expects the stalemate to end soon.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'll never feel sorry for myself and I won't give up. I'll keep fighting." — K Nate Kaeding on his struggles.


BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Jerry Wilson vs. Bhawoh Jue for free safety. This is the lone competition for a starting spot, and it appears Wilson is holding off Jue, a free-agent pickup from the Packers. They both played in the exhibition season opener, with Jue getting more playing time. But he was unable to close the considerable gap between him and Wilson. Coach Marty Schottenheimer said the battle remains "status quo." Both had a tackle in the opener.

BATTLE FRONTS: Leander Jordan vs. Courtney VanBuren for backup left tackle. Jordan has been seeing many snaps, as veteran starter Roman Oben often works but one practice on two-a-days, and VanBuren has had some issues with his mending knee. VanBuren could make a run at Jordan soon, though, as he returns to practice. ... Eric Parker vs. Reche Caldwell for starting wide receiver. Parker continues to do everything right in practice and the game, which is making it tough for Caldwell to make inroads. Parker would have to stumble to lose this battle. ... Drayton Florence vs. Sammy Davis for starting cornerback. The Packers' Brett Favre did what numerous others quarterbacks have done: find Davis. He was the culprit when Favre found Donald Driver on a 23-yard scoring pass last week.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: ILB Matt Wilhelm - Wilhelm has found playing time tough to come by with Donnie Edwards, the Chargers' top tackler, playing in front of him. But with Edwards out with an ankle injury, Wilhelm showed he's up to the task. He was sensational in the Packers game, collecting a game-high eight tackles, forcing two fumbles and recovering one. "Here he is, Donnie Edwards Jr.," crowed linebacker Randall Godfrey after the game. Said coach Marty Schottenheimer: "The play of Matt Wilhelm was really excellent for us."

ROOKIE REPORT: Top pick Shawne Merriman has been working with the trainers on his conditioning. ... DE Luis Castillo had three tackles vs. the Packers. .. WR Vincent Jackson's first taste of game action was derailed early when he aggravated his sore Achilles tendon. ... RB/KR Darren Sproles got plenty of work against Green Bay, returning three punts for 3 yards, two kickoffs for 42 yards, rushing for 10 yards on seven carries and catching a team-high six passes for 47 yards. ... OL Wesley Britt, Wes Sims and Scott Mruczkowski contributed in backup roles against the Packers.


— DL/LB DeQuincy Scott (thigh) is out for two weeks.

— WR Vincent Jackson (Achilles tendon) is day-to-day.

— LB Donnie Edwards (ankle) is day-to-day.

— LB Shaun Phillips (chest) is day-to-day.

— LB Shawne Merriman (hamstring, toe) is day-to-day.

— LB Ben Leber (ankle) is out for another week.

— T Courtney VanBuren (knee) will return week.

— TE Ryan Krause (foot) will return this week.

— WR Malcom Floyd (calf) will return this week.

— DT Luis Castillo (ribs) will work later in the week.