WR Chris Chambers (Doug Benc/Getty)
While the talking heads debate whether the New England Patriots own the best offense in NFL history, San Diego loads up for a historic offensive charge of its own. If Chris Chambers acclimates quickly and Cory Withrow picks up where Nick Hardwick left off, the Chargers will claim the NFL's most potent scoring unit.
What a catch.
That's what the Chargers are thinking after their bye week brought with it the acquisition of veteran wide receiver Chris Chambers.
The Chargers sent a 2008 second-round pick to Miami to beef-up one of the team's weakest units. Chambers, a seven-year pro with one Pro Bowl selection, easily becomes the Chargers' No. 1 wideout.
"I'm ready to move on and get a fresh start to my career," said Chambers, after leaving the 0-6 Dolphins for a 3-3 Chargers team primed to make a playoff run. "I feel like I have a lot to offer, and I haven't maximized my ability yet."
While the Chargers offense -- which led the NFL last year in scoring -- has a plethora of stars, it was lacking at the wide receiver spot.
Vincent Jackson was advertised as the No. 1 wideout, but his inconsistency could never be overcome.
Eric Parker, a top-notch third-down target and the team's top wideout last season, was placed on injured reserve Tuesday due to a toe injury.
Rookie Craig Davis, a first-round pick in April, is having trouble staying on the field because of a persistent ankle sprain.
Malcom Floyd, a dynamite red-zone target, could never win over the coaches to see an expanded role.
Enter one Chris Chambers, who is fourth all-time among Dolphins in receiving yards.
Chambers arrives in San Diego with 31 receptions for 415 yards but no scores. Collectively, the Chargers' wideouts have caught 36 passes, led by Vincent's 20.
Chambers comes versed on the Chargers' offense. He had played this year under Cam Cameron, who served as the Chargers' offensive coordinator before taking the Miami head job. Plus, Chargers coach Norv Turner worked with Chambers when he directed the Miami offense from 2002-03.
"I don't think it's going to be much of a transition," Chambers said. "All the routes are the same and everybody runs the same routes. They may be called a little bit different, but for the most part, I spent two years with Norv, I felt like that second year I was really getting some of the stuff he wanted to do."
Quarterback Philip Rivers was among the Chargers praising the move.
"Anytime you can add a player of his caliber, as a quarterback you love it," he said.
The Chargers would love to leave their shaky start behind them, and they are on their way to doing it by winning two straight after a 1-3 beginning. With Chambers now in the fold, the prospects for better days only look brighter.
--Pro Bowl C Nick Hardwick is out three to four weeks and will be replaced in the lineup by veteran Cory Withrow. Hardwick sprained his foot in the early stages of Sunday's win over the Raiders. "They'll be fine without me," Hardwick said. "They're going to keep rockin' and working hard. Cory is going to do a good job."
--The team completes its bye week work on Thursday. Coach Norv Turner said this is the perfect time to get some youngsters more practice reps in case they are needed during the final 10 games. In particular, the team wants to get a closer looks at rookie ILBs Anthony Waters and Brandon Siler.
--QB Philip Rivers said the timing of the bye isn't all that bad. "You'd much rather go into the bye week coming off two wins than coming off two losses," Rivers said. "I've never really bought into the good time or bad time for a bye week. We're not going to change it either way."
--RB LaDainian Tomlinson is among the candidates for the Ground Player of the Week award after rushing for 198 yards and four touchdowns in Sunday's win.
--OLB Shaun Phillips is a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Week award after collecting nine tackles and two sacks and forcing a fumble from Oakland's Daunte Culpepper.
--GM A.J. Smith said newly acquired WR Chris Chambers' recent run-in with the law had no bearing on him coming to San Diego. Chambers had DWI charges dropped last month after an incident in July in which he was arrested on suspicion of DWI, reckless driving and speeding in Charlotte, N.C. "We're aware of it," Smith said. "If it was a major problem, he'd still be in Miami."
--Coach Norv Turner said the team had run out of time in waiting for WR Eric Parker's toe to get better. After a second opinion, Parker was placed on injured reserve. "The time-frame just wasn't going to work for Eric," Turner said. "It was going to be too long, and he wasn't going to be able to be a part of what we're trying to get done."
BY THE NUMBERS: 31 -- Receptions this season for new Chargers WR Chris Chambers, higher than the total of any of the team's other receivers.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We had an opportunity to add an experienced, productive receiver and we couldn't pass it up. It was a steep price -- a second-rounder -- but I felt it was worth it." -- GM A. J. Smith on pulling the trigger on the trade brining Chris Chambers to San Diego.
PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES
--WR Vincent Jackson will lose his role as the No. 1 wide out with Chris Chambers coming aboard. Jackson likely will start opposite Chambers, with former starter Craig Davis moving to the No. 3 position.
--RB LaDainian Tomlinson won't be taxed much in the bye-week workouts, with backup Michael Turner getting a heavy dose of the reps.
--TE Antonio Gates leads all NFL tight ends with 43 catches for 547 yards. Gates is just six receptions off the NFL lead for all players.
--QB Philip Rivers, like the 3-3 Chargers team, is sitting at .500 with his touchdown-to-interception ratio of seven-to-seven.
--PR Darren Sproles is slowly climbing up the rankings with an 8.7-yard average. That ties him for fourth in the AFC.
--K Nate Kaeding is well off the pace he was on last season when setting a team mark for points by a kicker. This year, he has 35 points, which is ninth among AFC kickers.
INJURY IMPACT: C Nick Hardwick will miss three to four games with a sprained foot...DT Jamal Williams is out after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgeries. He hopes to play on Oct. 28...RG Mike Goff had thumb surgery but plans on playing Oct. 28...WR Craig Davis is still nursing sprained ankle...ILB Matt Wilhelm will go easy on his mending calf...FB Andrew Pinnock (knee) could return after the bye.