I’m not sure why — media never turn down free food — but there were leftovers from Norv Turner’s informal chat at Qualcomm Stadium. The chicken sliders and taquitos were my favorites.
There are also a few tidbits that I haven’t covered on the blog or the main site.
• Jan. 17 is a painful date for Chargers fans, but it’s not unspeakable. Turner has been straightforward in his assessment of the playoff loss to the Jets and talked about it again Thursday, acknowledging that media and fans will measure his team by what they accomplish in postseason play.
“I think everyone knows our team’s going to be evaluated once we get to the playoffs. Our guys understand that and that gives us a little chip on our shoulder,” Turner said.
He made a light-hearted joke about it but did say it isn’t fun to dwell on the loss: “That’s why I’m anxious about the season starting because we’ll have some other games to talk about.”
• He voiced confidence in Nate Kaeding, the most accurate kicker in NFL history. Kaeding missed three field goals in the playoff game (one from 57 yards).
He cited several less heralded mistakes and penalties in all facets of the game that could have helped the Chargers advance to another AFC Championship game.
“I’ve never been with a guy that is so technically sound. He kicks the ball straight,” Turner said. “I think his confidence is based on relying on his technique. He needs to go do it again. Go play.”
• Turner voiced his interest in making the defense younger and more athletic.
“Everyone wants the energy. Everyone wants the enthusiasm, guys making plays and getting excited and running around,” he said.
Guys like Cam Thomas, Darrell Stuckey, Larry English, Donald Butler and Ogemdi Nwagbuo are among the names that fit that description should they emerge.
• Speaking of athletic young players on defense, former first-round choice Antoine Cason already is getting his shot at cornerback.
“We may not get the spectacular, but we’ll be more consistent on a down-to-down basis,” Turner said.
The coach said Cason is more comfortable on the outside than in the slot and that he’s had a good offseason, but expects to provide safety help so the third-year player isn’t always stuck on an island.
• Thomas could be a viable asset in his rookie season, but he doesn’t have to be. Turner expects the line to test him in camp, especially Louis Vasquez, who endured the same as a rookie last year.
“Everyone who’s seen him, he’s so big, fast, strong and he’s so athletic,” Turner said. “Our offensive players have been impressed with him. But it changes now. We go put the pads on and our guys will get after him.
“He’ll be a fun guy to watch because he’ll play against the best lineman he’s ever played against in his life and he’s going to play against them every day in practice.”
• Antonio Gates will not be expected to offer more help as a blocker even if Marcus McNeill misses part of the season. Turner gave the media permission to write negative things about him if the Chargers stop sending the Pro Bowl tight end out to catch passes.
Turner did say that the team will continue to offer help on the left side of the line during play action, just as they did last season.
• Speaking of tight ends, he said the team may go to a one receiver, one back, three tight end set more often. They used it sparingly last year and it produced a screen pass to Kris Wilson against Dallas.
Turner also said Randy McMichael has shown better blocking ability than expected since arriving in June. He remains capable as a pass catcher as well.
• Finally, the public relations department would like to welcome the four interns that arrived yesterday: Fernando Brown (San Diego State grad student), Dustin Lawrence (University of Southern California student), Hailey Johnson (University of California Santa Barbara grad), and Brianna Lee (University of California San Diego grad).
Stay true and keep pounding,
Tags: Antoine Cason, Antonio Gates, Cam Thomas, Norv Turner, Playoffs, Randy McMichael
Posted in Miscellaneous, Notes | 2 Comments »