SDUT: Osgood good but certain he won't be kept

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FU Spanos and Dundon
Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA

By Kevin Acee

November 5, 2005

Kassim Osgood might be about to kick up his bid to make the Pro Bowl – even though he has recently been demoted.

The Chargers receiver is getting a fair amount of attention for his performance on special teams this season, so much so that there is talk he could be the AFC's special teamer in Honolulu come February.

"I don't know," he said. "We'll see. I don't want to get my hopes up."

Something else, however, Osgood is certain of: He won't be a Charger beyond this season.

"As weird as it is, as much as I love Southern California, the reality is I'm going to be somewhere else next season," Osgood said this week.

With rookie second-round draft pick Vincent Jackson finally healthy and starting to play, Osgood has been dropped to fifth on the depth chart. That's some clear handwriting on the wall, especially when he has been perhaps the team's best blocking receiver in the limited time he is on the field.

Osgood will be a restricted free agent after the season, meaning the Chargers can match any offer Osgood receives. It seems unlikely the Chargers would try to keep Osgood, particularly if another team offers him a contract with the intent of playing him significantly as a receiver.

Meanwhile, Osgood has a plan.

"Play hard the rest of the season, get to the Super Bowl," he said. "I still look at it like these are the guys I've been playing with. This is my family. You don't turn your back on your family even though you know the light at the end of the tunnel is about to be changed. They're about to change the bulb."

There is little doubt the Chargers will continue to get Osgood's best on kicks. He leads the Chargers with 15 special-teams stops despite the fact teams have been double-teaming him all season. And he is among the team's best blockers on kickoffs as well.

"I played special teams my sophomore year in college," he said of his days at San Diego State. " ... It made me angry. Every time I play special teams I'm angry I'm not playing. I'm starting to believe that's the motivating factor."
Tough to crack
The Chargers' defense has allowed an average of 338 yards over the past three games, no worse and no better than half the teams in the league.

But no NFL defense has been tougher inside its own 20-yard line during that span.

The Chargers' past three opponents have scored just three touchdowns in their past 10 trips inside the red zone. Three other times, teams have kicked field goals. The Chargers have forced a turnover, stopped teams on downs twice and had a half run out on Philadelphia after third down.

"You're not going to get in there," safety Bhawoh Jue said. "That's the way our defense is. Every now and then we might break down, and we've got to stop that, because it happens fast. But the key is keeping them out, and we do a good job of it."
New kicks
LaDainian Tomlinson is wearing new shoes this season made especially for him by Nike, and he acknowledged yesterday his slipping in the backfield while making cuts might be partially attributable to the shoes.

Tomlinson said one solution is to wear longer cleats.

"But I don't like very long cleats," Tomlinson said. "I feel like the cleats get stuck in the ground. I'll take some slipping so I don't feel like I'm getting slowed down."

Tomlinson has actually been stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage fewer times this season than he had been at this point in 2004. But his quest for the league rushing lead has hit a lull, as he has gained 76 yards over the past two weeks and currently sits fifth on the rushing list.
Old school
Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde, who will turn 42 next week, was asked earlier this week if he remembered Rob Chudzinski, a freshman at the University of Miami the year Testaverde won the Heisman Trophy with the Hurricanes.

Testaverde said he did, though he did not know Chudzinski's current whereabouts. Told Chudzinski, 37, is the Chargers' tight ends coach, Testaverde said: "He's doing a pretty damn good job, because they've got a hell of a tight end."
Injury news
The Chargers could be without six starters tomorrow against the Jets. Left tackle Roman Oben and linebackers Randall Godfrey and Steve Foley are out. Safety Terrence Kiel, center Nick Hardwick and wide receiver Eric Parker sat out practice yesterday.