Postcard from camp: Chargers
There's nothing charming or picturesque about the Chargers' camp, which is conducted at their year-round facility in Murphy Canyon. Immediately to the south of the two-story complex is a row of office buildings, and across the street there's a storage facility. Yet in some regards it's the perfect backdrop for a team that's all business after losing its playoff opener for the third time in its last five appearances, with each of the defeats occurring at home. The Chargers won't be able to say they were distracted during preparations because 17 of the 28 practice days are closed to the public. The only prying eyes on Friday and Saturday -- besides the media -- belonged to 1,000 pre-selected season-ticket holders who were granted access. What they witnessed were workouts that were relatively short, but fast-paced. If there is a mantra for San Diego this season, it is to start fast and finish strong in the postseason. The team lost three of its first four in Turner's opening season, five of eight to start the next year and three of five to start last season. And, though the Chargers rallied to make the playoffs, their win total once there has fallen each year from two to one to zero. Turner says this could be the best team he's had since arriving in San Diego. The words are sure to follow him all season.
1. There is no public hand-wringing among players and coaches about the absences of left tackle
3. Veterans reported on Friday and, during the first 11-on-11 drill, Rivers directed his initial pass to
The Chargers have never been active in free agency under general manager
Much of the focus will be on Mathews, who'll be asked to fill the sizable shoes of Tomlinson. But defensive tackle
Naanee broke behind the defense on a deep post and dropped a perfectly placed pass. It was a tough moment for a player who has so many eyes on him. But, on his next route, Naanee snared a tight spiral on an underneath route, showing strong hands and mental toughness.
1. When the running game struggled last season, Tomlinson pointed to play-calling and Turner's desire to run the offense through Rivers. The comments did not sit well with Turner, who bit his tongue out of respect for the local icon. Yet when asked if there's a possibility he might run Mathews more than normal to prove that the struggles were about Tomlinson and not the play-calling, Turner said: "Maybe subconsciously there is. I hate to get where you personalize something. What you really want to do is have the best team that you can have."
2. 2008 top draft pick
3. Now that Cromartie has been traded to the Jets, more players are expressing their belief that his departure is addition by subtraction. For instance, when asked why the defense would be better with Cason instead of Cromartie, Cooper, the starting inside linebacker, said: "Antoine is very unselfish. He's all about the team. He's not worried about putting up big numbers. He wants to play within the defense and make plays. He wants to make sure that we win games."
4. Free-agent signee Strickland will get the first shot to replace
7. Why does Turner believe this could be his best team since arriving in San Diego? "It's not spin," Turner says. "We're bigger, we're stronger and we're faster. Some of the guys that we've added and are going to ask to play, they're bigger, stronger, faster. So we have a chance to grow as a team."