Game Scout: Chargers vs. Bills
LB Jyles Tucker (Doug Pensinger/Getty)
LB Jyles Tucker (Doug Pensinger/Getty)

Posted Oct 17, 2008
scout.com


The Chargers head to Buffalo with a long list of injured players, but that's nothing new for Norv Turner's team. Find out the latest injury news, player updates and scoop from inside both camps.

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 ET
GAMEDATE: 10/19/08
SURFACE: AstroPlay
TV: CBS (Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf)

SERIES: 32nd regular-season meeting. Chargers lead, 20-9-2, and have won the past two games, three of the last four and six of the last eight. In 2006, the teams squared off in Western New York with the Chargers claiming a 24-21 victory behind the running of LaDainian Tomlinson on a windy and cold day.

PREDICTION: Chargers 24-23

KEYS TO THE GAME

Chargers: The Chargers have managed to get by with RB LaDainian Tomlinson struggling through a toe injury because QB Philip Rivers has thrown at least three touchdowns in four of six games. San Diego's vertical passing game is going to test Buffalo's secondary, which is likely to be without top cover man CB Terrence McGee. With the Chargers getting WR Chris Chambers back in the lineup, they could have too many downfield weapons for Buffalo to contain.

Bills: QB Trent Edwards returns to the lineup after using the bye week to overcome the concussion that knocked him out of the last game. Just as important to the Bills is getting the running game going. RB Marshawn Lynch is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry with the offensive line not creating enough holes. Edwards has a 136.6 fourth-quarter passer rating, but Buffalo can't tempt fate every week and stay in first place.

KEY INJURIES

Chargers: OLB Jyles Tucker (hamstring) should start but could be limited.

Bills: McGee (knee) is not expected to play; WR Roscoe Parrish (thumb) has a chance to see some action; DE Aaron Schobel (ankle) is day-to-day.

FAST FACTS: The Chargers' linebackers have accounted for 10.5 of the team's 17 sacks. ... The Bills are 2-0 following bye weeks under coach Dick Jauron.

PERSONNEL NEWS

Chargers:

--WR Chris Chambers (ankle) didn't work on Thursday and there's a good chance he will miss his second straight game.

--OLB Jyles Tucker (hamstring) didn't practice, but he did run hard on the sidelines with the training staff. He could be a game-time decision.


WR Buster Davis
Donald Miralle/Getty

--WR Buster Davis (groin) didn't practice and it's a pretty solid guess that he won't go Sunday.

--RB Darren Sproles (ankle) was limited in his work; he likely goes Sunday although he could be restricted with his work load.

--FB Mike Tolbert (ankle) was limited in his practice time. Look for Tolbert to at least start Sunday, then see how long he can hold up.

--RB LaDainian Tomlinson (toe) went through a full practice and is set for Sunday.

--FS Eric Weddle (shoulder) worked the entire practice and will start on Sunday.

--OLB Marques Harris (hamstring) practiced and will play Sunday.

Bills:

--QB Trent Edwards practiced for a third time this week and will start Sunday's showdown against San Diego at home barring any setbacks. Edwards suffered a concussion in Buffalo's loss at Arizona Oct. 5 but is symptom free and feeling good, he said.

--DE Aaron Schobel did not practice again, raising concerns he may not suit up Sunday against San Diego. Schobel has ligament damage on the top of his left foot and is wearing an immobilizer boot to help promote healing. He's at best a game-time decision.

--CB Terrence McGee, coming off an MCL sprain, did not practice again. He has been unable to take part in team drills for two weeks, but is testing his knee on his own. Still, it appears he's a week or two away from returning to the lineup and his absence against San Diego's high-powered passing attack will be felt.

--C Melvin Fowler has developed an elbow issue and did not practice Thursday. He's questionable for Sunday's game against San Diego. His loss would be felt by Buffalo's struggling line facing Pro Bowl DT Jamal Williams.

--OG/C Duke Preston could start at center on Sunday against San Diego with Melvin Fowler nursing an elbow injury. Preston has nine career NFL starts but hasn't started one since 2006.

--DT John McCargo practiced after rejoining the team. His trade to the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday was voided after he failed his physical with a bulging disc in his back. The Bills medical staff said McCargo is fine and he remains a member of the team's active roster.

INSIDE THE CAMPS

Chargers:

The Chargers' wide receiving corps is getting thin. But if it performs Sunday in Buffalo the way it did in last Sunday night's win over the Patriots, the Chargers can live with that.


WR Malcom Floyd
Donald Miralle/Getty

Thursday's practice was held without Chris Chambers and Buster Davis participating for the second straight day. That means more looks for Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd.

Those two combined for eight receptions for two touchdowns and 209 yards on Sunday night.

It was the play of Floyd that really opened some eyes. Floyd had zero catches the first four games and was inactive the game prior to the team playing the Patriots.

But he came on in a big way.

"I'm ecstatic -- very happy for him because he deserves it," Chambers said. "He works just as hard as anybody on this team and he has a great ability that everybody could see."

Floyd has battled injuries and the team being deep at the position earlier in his career, which helped stunt his growth. But he remained positive and it is finally paying off.

"Oh yeah, it's been a roller coaster," said Floyd, a third-year pro. "But I have to just stay mentally tough, be ready at all times and be focused."

Chambers said Floyd is taking advantage of a great situation.

"I told him this is his time," Chambers said. "One guy is down, the other man gets his opportunity to step up -- that is (how a) whole lot of us got our chances. It just happens that way; it's the nature of the game.

"And I'm looking forward to seeing him get more comfortable this game and doing some of the same things he was doing last week by building on it."

Bills:

John McCargo was back with the Bills with a "return to sender" postmark. And he's not exactly happy about it.

The 2006 former first-round draft pick was traded to the Indianapolis Colts right before Tuesday's trade deadline for what was believed to be a conditional late-round pick in 2009.


DT John McCargo
Rick Stewart/Getty

However, McCargo failed his physical -- Colts doctors cited a bulging disc -- and the trade was voided late Wednesday night.

That created a most awkward situation at practice Thursday for both the player and the team as McCargo met briefly with reporters at his locker stall.

"I don't think anything I say is going to lead to anything positive," said McCargo, who said he had nothing to elaborate on.

Coach Dick Jauron said it's not unusual for trades to be nixed since each team's medical standards are different. McCargo was listed on Buffalo's injury report earlier this season with a back condition, but played that week, a 20-16 win in Jacksonville. Jauron said Bills doctors cleared McCargo before going ahead with the trade.

"As I said, we thought the trade was in everybody's best interest. It didn't work out. He's back with us," Jauron said. "We have absolutely no problems with the guy. And, hopefully, he'll just play better and better."

It was felt that the Bills would activate Corey Mace from the practice squad to take McCargo's place on the active roster. But Thursday, McCargo practiced and was given his old locker and No. 97 back.

McCargo, who showed flashes last season, has averaged only about a dozen plays per game this year and is fourth on the depth chart in a tackle rotation with Marcus Stroud, Kyle Williams and Spencer Johnson. His desire and work ethic have been questioned. If his play doesn't improve, the Bills may face the difficult decision of giving him his outright release, meaning they'll have salvaged nothing from a hefty investment in McCargo.

They gave up a second- and third-round pick in 2006 to Chicago in order to move back into the first round where they selected the former N.C. State star with the 26th overall pick. Strong safety Donte Whitner was Buffalo's first pick, No. 8 overall.



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