Chargers expert Michael Lombardo offers his opinions on two key matchups; how the Chargers will win…
Favre Expects San Diego to Charge
After the embarrassing 38-14 loss in Foxborough, the Chargers are focused on their next big challenge, Brett Favre and his pack. The Chargers know if they play their cards right, they will get another crack at Tom Brady & Co. in the post-season.
Some Chargers ate up the redemption aspect of week two against the New England Patriots. Offensive tackle Jeromey Clary told SDBoltReport.com in this exclusive interview that there was emotional scarring that needed to be erased.
LaDainian Tomlinson played it down by telling the press that a win or loss would not affect either team's season; that attitude was reflected in the team's lackadaisical attitude on Sunday.
Tomlinson did not expect to run up and down the field on the Chicago Bears or the New England Patriots. L.T., who seemed unusually somber during last week's press conference, knew he would have to earn his yards and maintains that there is no frustration on his part. He is not panicking after two games.
Rolling Coverage Grows No Moss
When the Chargers and Patriots met on Jan. 14, Randy Moss was a non-factor. The 10-year veteran was still in Oakland, where he made three touchdowns all season. It is a new year with a new team for Moss, who has matched last year's scoring total through just two games. One touchdown came from the win* against the New York Jets, and two came at the expense of the Chargers.
Coach Bill Bradleys' secondary must step up against elite competition. Quentin Jammer and Drayton Florence both have the ability to do the job, but neither brought the requisite physicality to handle a player of Moss' caliber.
One defensive back who has been consistent is Clinton Hart. The safety intercepted a pass from Tom Brady and recorded a total of six tackles, three solo and three assists.
Leader of the Pack
Three weeks into his 17th season and Favre is still wowing the competition. L.T. and Philip Rivers are amazed by No. 4's consistency and level of competitiveness. Favre, who became the winningest quarterback in history when he won his 149th game last week, acknowledges that he will have to bring his A game to have a chance against San Diego.
"I think it hurts you, you know, because they're sitting there saying in San Diego, 'Hey, we got to get back on track, we're a better football team than this,'" Favre said. "I know what kind of football team they are. Our team does."
Rivers is excited to play at Lambeau Field and against Favre, who was one of his favorite quarterbacks as a kid, which -- to channel John Madden -- speaks volumes about Favre's sustainability in the league.
L.T. and Rivers insist that last Sunday's game should not be blown out of proportion; it was just one loss. Regardless of the magnitude of the blow, the Chargers are still hurting - literally. Starting inside linebackers Matt Wilhelm (calf) and Stephen Cooper (neck) are both banged up; Wilhelm has been held out all week and Cooper returned to practice on Thursday. Hart (hamstring) sat out Wednesday's practice but had full participation on Thursday. Shane Olivea (back) has yet to practice.
While nothing is ever certain with injuries, Turner said that Jamal Williams is sore but should be ready to go by Sunday. The Bolts cannot afford to put Williams on any list other than the active one.
Norv Turner's biggest concern is Wilhelm. The same calf that plagued the first-year starter in preseason was hurt again in game two. With Wilhelm out last Sunday, Tim Dobbins stepped up and the inside coverage went down. It seemed Dobbins was not prepared to fill Wilhelm's cleats, but inside linebackers coach Ron Rivera believes Dobbins is ready to start if necessary, now that he has received first-team reps all week.
Everyone wants Olivea to recover quickly; his athleticism and non-stop drive will be missed. However, if he is not ready for Lambeau Field, Rivers believes the role is covered adequately.
After being promoted over 12-year veteran Roman Oben, Clary saw spot duty in week one and played extensively in week two. The sophomore player was brought in when Olivea went down and Rivers does not question whether Clary can protect him against an aggressive Packers defense.
On the long plane ride home from the East Coast, Clary made the best out of a bad situation; he spent his time watching the game film with a handful of other players. Rivers credits Clary's study habits, listening skills and work ethic with his rise up the depth chart. Clary felt he made a couple of key mistakes in the game, but Rivers said they were nothing drastic and that Clary stepped in and played well. Not bad for a guy who was a long-shot to make the final roster over Cory Lekkerkerker.
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