Chargers at Jacksonville: Game Notes

Although the San Diego Chargers and the Jacksonville Jaguars have never tangled, Jacksonville is 2-0 against Marty Schottenheimer, coming when he coached at Washington and Kansas City. The Chargers are the only team Jacksonville has yet to face in its nine year history.

Chargers Notes:

--The last time the Chargers won a game that didn't go into overtime was Oct. 20, 2002, against the Chiefs, 35-34. The Chargers final three wins of last year came in overtime: Oakland, San Francisco, Denver.

--Not only did the Chargers drop their first four games, but three were against AFC West rivals, and the other was a conference loss to Baltimore.

--Although Marcellus Wiley has yet to record a sack, coach Marty Schottenheimer was pleased with his play Sunday in the loss to the Raiders. "He played his (butt) off," Schottenheimer said. OK, but Wiley had but three tackles.

--If the Chargers are to rally from their killer start, they'll have to do it on the road, where three of their next four games will be: Jacksonville, Cleveland and Chicago.

--Can't fault the punt return coverage, led by P Darren Bennett's awesome work. The Chargers are allowing but 3.9 yards per return, best in the league.

--RB LaDainian Tomlinson is known for his tough running, but don't overlook his reliable hands. His 35 receptions is tops among NFL backs.

--Although three NFL teams are 0-4, only one figures to be 0-5 after Sunday. While the winless Chargers and Jaguars square off, the 0-4 Jets have a bye.

--The Jaguars are the only NFL team the Chargers have never played.

--The team cut PK Mackenzie Hoambrecker from the practice squad, and added OL Kevin Breedlove.

--Hopefully they can listen better than they can play: the Chargers are starting a Listening Tour to get public input regarding their new stadium proposal.

-- Rookie S Terrence Kiel, who's been basically restricted to special teams play, could see action in the nickel and dime packages. Drayton Florence and Kevin House were burned repeatedly last week.

--RT Phil Bogle will make way for Solomon Page, if Page's sprained ankle continues to cooperate. But Page might not be at full strength, which could have the Chargers running more to the left side than usual.

--RG Bob Hallen will remain a starter, regardless how the situation shakes out at right tackle.

--The Chargers need a spark at kick return, as Jesse Chatman and Leon Johnson haven't done much. But it remains to be seen if the team wants to risk putting Tim Dwight back there; he's trying to rebound from a sprained knee.

--Just two years ago, Marty Schottenheimer led an 0-4 Washington team against an 0-4 Dallas team in a Monday night game. The Cowboys won the game as the Redskins fell to 0-5. But Schottenheimer then rallied the team to go 8-3 in the last 11 games to finish at 8-8.

--The Chargers also started 0-4 in 1992 and won the division.

--Now Schottenheimer will coach an 0-4 Charger team against an 0-4 Jaguar team Sunday at Alltel Stadium.

--Wide receiver David Boston returns to action, which can't come none too soon.

Boston gives the Chargers a deep threat, which should take some of the pressure off running back LaDainian Tomlinson. The Jaguars are nasty against the run, allowing rivals a puny 2.8 yards per carry, tops in the AFC.

With Boston, and possibly Tim Dwight, coming back into the fold, the safeties and defensive backs can't cheat as much in supply run-support. Their return can not only help the passing game but open up running lanes for Tomlinson.

--Schottenheimer cut Del Rio on Aug. 30, 1989 in his first year as Kansas City coach. Del Rio was quickly claimed by the Cowboys, who were in Jimmy Johnson's first year.

Schottenheimer said he doesn't remember the decision, but added that he's sure Del Rio did.

It was a good move for Del Rio because Johnson put in a good word with owner Wayne Weaver for Del Rio when he was looking for a coach.

By the numbers: 0-1-2 -- Number of victories, suspensions and arrests on new general manager A.J. Smith's watch.

Jacksonville Notes:

--Veteran quarterback Mark Brunell, who was sidelined by an elbow injury last week, started throwing on the sidelines at practice Wednesday but rookie Byron Leftwich got most of the snaps with the first team offense.

Brunell hopes to play Sunday and said it'd be difficult for him if he doesn't.

"That'd be real difficult, feeling physically ready to roll (and not playing). That would be a hard one, particularly since we need a win so bad."

Coach Jack Del Rio has since named Leftwich as the starter.

--The Jaguars have a tree stump with an ax on top of it in the locker room.

Del Rio said he had it brought in last Friday because he's been telling the players to "keep chopping wood" to turn their season around.

He said nobody can split the stump with one blow and it's a sign that they've got to keep chopping.

Although some of the players took a few whacks, others said, "It stinks."

--The Jaguars will make one change in their defensive lineup this week with T.J. Slaughter, who forced two fumbles, last week, stepping in for Danny Clark at an outside linebacker spot. Clark had replaced Keith Mitchell, who's out with a neck injury.

--The Jaguars showed they're not afraid to take the handcuffs off rookie quarterback Byron Leftwich. He threw 36 times in his first start in Houston last week while Fred Taylor ran only 19 times. Even though the Chargers rank 29th in rushing defense, they still figure to attack their 17th ranked pass defense, especially since Jimmy Smith will be making his return after serving a four-game drug suspension.

-SD Bolt Report

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