Game Snapshot: Chargers-Jaguars

This week is not about getting back in the playoff hunt. It is not about saving Norv Turner's job. It is about trying to win a football game, something the Chargers have not done since Oct. 9. Will it finally happen on Monday Night Football? To set the table for this game, we go over team reports, personnel updates and keys to the game.

KICKOFF: Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET
GAMEDATE: 12/5/11
SURFACE: Natural grass
TV: ESPN, Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, Jon Gruden

PREDICTION: Chargers 23-12

KEYS TO THE GAME: QB Blaine Gabbert was benched last week, the coach was fired, the team was sold and starting WR Jason Hill released. Other than that, it's business as usual for the Jaguars as they prepare to play host to a Monday night game. Gabbert is back at the helm and needs to do a better job of standing tall in the pocket and delivering the ball downfield to provide some type of complement to RB Maurice Jones-Drew. San Diego is in a freefall and traveling cross-country. But QB Philip Rivers lives and dies with the vertical passing game and gets to attack a secondary that has lost both starting cornerbacks to injury.

FAST FACTS: The Chargers' six-game losing streak is their longest since a nine-game skid from 2002-03. ... The Jaguars begin a stretch of three games on national television in 11 days.



The Chargers are hoping their unsettled offensive line becomes a little more settled Monday in Jacksonville.

As the Chargers try to shake their six-game losing streak, they got some encouraging news from Thursday's practice. It wasn't all good, but the way things have been going for the last-place Chargers, they can't be picky.

Offensive lineman Tyronne Green, who has missed the past two games, was able to work and it looks as if he will play Monday. Although just where he lines up remains a mystery.

Left tackle Brandyn Dombrowski, who suffered an ankle injury last week, hasn't worked this week. Dombrowski is filling in for Pro Bowler Marcus McNeill after he was placed on injured reserve this week with a concussion.

If Dombrowski's ankle won't cooperate, the Chargers likely send Green, an interior player, out wide to guard Philip Rivers' blind side.

If so, veteran Tony Moll or rookie Steve Schilling slides into the left-guard spot. Green had replaced Pro Bowler Kris Dielman who earlier this year went on injured reserve with a concussion. Moll likely gets the nod if Green is pushed outside.

Another sore spot is right guard, where Louis Vasquez has been slowed by an ankle sprain that has cost him the past two games. But Vasquez was able to take all the snaps and should be able to start Sunday. The question is if his ankle will hold up against the active and aggressive Jaguars' defense.


Mel Tucker didn't take long to make an impact on the Jaguars.

When Tucker walked onto the field Thursday for his first practice as the Jaguars' new interim head coach a half-hour before it was scheduled to start, punter Nick Harris was the only player on the field.

"I actually wanted to go out there and get some fresh air. There are no windows in the building here," Tucker said with a smile.

He then added the real reason.

"I wanted to check the field. I wanted to check weather. There were certain things I just wanted to get a feel for before I got out there and then I wanted to be there as the players arrived on the field. We set the tone in terms of the things we want to do and we'll continue to do that, but I do believe in leading by example," he said.

Tucker showed the Jaguars have a new sheriff running the team although the soft-spoken coach wouldn't use that phrase the way Dennis Green once did.

He started to change the culture of the team that had become lax under former coach Jack Del Rio.

When Tucker was asked why he wanted to see the players arrive, he said, "Because I think everything's important so I need to see as much as possible. Everything matters and what I saw was guys eager to get out there and get to work and I saw that we were prompt, most importantly."

In the old days, like last week under Del Rio, who was fired Tuesday, the special teams players arrived first and the starters would straggle out because the first half-hour of practice is mostly for the special teams.

There were no stragglers Thursday.

"We got out there today," tight end Marcedes Lewis said.

Tucker said, "I told them that we want to be on time in everything we do and we were that today."

Then there was the up-tempo nature of the practice itself. It ended 18 minutes early because of the fast tempo of the drills. The players ran between drills and there wasn't much standing around.

Of finishing early, Tucker said, "That tells you we had tempo and overall I thought we got better today and that was the focus that was laid out for the players. The expectation was that we were going to focus on today."

Tucker gave the players a list of what he wanted to accomplish and he said the main goal is to get better each day.

"I felt like we would be better, and in my estimation was we did get better today as a football team, offense, defense and special teams. So we pick it up again tomorrow," he said.

The players weren't surprised that Tucker ran a high-tempo practice because that is the way he's had the defense practicing all year in his role as defensive coordinator under Del Rio.

Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said, "We practice high tempo and now the whole team is the same way. He brings energy to practice," he said.

"It was a lot faster today," said wide receiver Mike Thomas. "I like it. Guys can come in and get their work and not have too much miscellaneous time. Guys are running and working hard. It was good, more work but in a timely manner. It was good for us."

Lewis said, "When he was just coaching the defense, he had those guys flying around, stripping balls. If the pass is incomplete, he still has guys scooping and scoring. That's the mentality you want. He's a stickler for tempo. That's one of the things he did say. We're going to go out there and play with tempo and love of the game. There was a different feel in practice."

Defensive end Aaron Kampman said, "The faster you practice, the slower the game becomes."



--TE Antonio Gates, as expected, didn't practice on Thursday but will start on Monday. The Chargers routinely give Gates an off day during the week so not to tax his foot injury.

--OLB Shaun Phillips (foot) was sore from his extended play on Sunday but he was able to practice on Thursday. He should start on Monday, barring a setback.

--DE Luis Castillo (leg) didn't work and is out at least two more weeks.

--WR Malcom Floyd (hip) practiced for the second straight day and indications are he will return to start opposite Vincent Jackson. Floyd hasn't played since Oct. 31 and hasn't started since Oct. 23.

--WR Vincent Brown could see his playing time decrease if Floyd returns. Regardless, Brown showed well during his big chance and he should still see the field - especially if Floyd's hip becomes fatigued as the game matures.

--RB Ryan Mathews wore a sleeve on his left knee, but was moving well during practice and took all his reps.


--DE Matt Roth, who missed last Sunday's game against Houston with a concussion, didn't practice Thursday because he hasn't been cleared.

--DT Terrance Knighton, who has missed three games with an ankle injury, didn't practice Thursday and his fate is uncertain.

--FB Brock Bolen was limited with a calf injury Thursday.

--DE Aaron Kampman, who has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury, was limited with the injury Thursday.

--WR Brian Robiskie, who has missed his three games with the team with a hamstring injury, was limited with the injury Thursday.

--OT Guy Whimper was limited in practice with a thigh injury but he played last week.

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