Lightning Quicks: The latest Chargers buzz

There is a lot going on with the San Diego Chargers. They just played their first preseason game, have reopened talks with Jason Ball, are still trying to get Philip Rivers under contract, have experiments on the offensive line that may not be experiments and an interesting situation developing at linebacker.

  • The Bolt faithful booed Peyton Manning several times during Saturday night's game: during pre-game introductions and the first several times he touched the ball.

  • "I didn't really pay a whole lot of attention to it," Manning said. "I saw a number of Colts jerseys out there, so that's always good to see. I didn't pay much attention."

    The only thing they did not get to see was the sack they so craved on Manning.

  • The word on the street is the Jason Ball talks have reopened. What we are hearing is that more progress may have been made in the past 96 hours than at any point prior.

  • The Chargers are changing their position on these negotiations, as some of the players have felt the team was not dealing with them personally.

    It would surprise how many of these players want to remain in San Diego, but felt turned off by the negotiating tactics.

  • Philip Rivers and his agent are still mum these days but talks could accelerate quickly.

  • There is growing pressure on the organization and with the team working with Jason Ball it may do the same with Philip Rivers. Anyone who was at the game saw how many empty seats there were. Currently the empty space threatens the regular season as the Chargers Halloween game with the Raiders has not even sold out. Times are tough in San Diego and the only way to reverse that without wins on the field is signing their first round pick.

  • Courtney VanBuren opened up the game at left tackle and the Chargers like what they saw. Van Buren held his own and heading into Arizona he appears to be the left tackle. It is the only spot he has practiced at during camp since his return to action.

    "This is still in the experimental stage, but the coaching staff is intrigued at this point. Week-three of the preseason game schedule will be a tale-tell sign as to the team's direction," NFL scout Lane Adkins said.

  • The linebackers were swarming on the field and that was without Pro Bowler Donnie Edwards. His replacement Stephen Cooper turned in an exceptional performance and his speed is a welcome addition to a defense that lacked the explosiveness last year.

  • While surely skewed, his agent, Buddy Baker, said, "Stephen will be a Pro Bowl player before his career is done."

    If he plays like he did on Saturday there is no doubt. But what happens when Edwards returns. Is it possible that Cooper could slide over to the other inside linebacker spot? He is already calling the plays for the first unit.

    It is an option being discussed and evaluated. Right now, the coaching staff is surprised to the accelerated play of Cooper. He is, after all, an undrafted free agent. The reason he went undrafted was his past trouble with the law that had people questioning his character. They did not know the whole story as Cooper fessed up to all counts.

    He was sentenced in federal court March 12th, 2003 to one year of probation for possession of steroids.

    Cooper also was fined $200. As part of his probation, he had to perform 100 hours of community service. At least 25 hours had to be spent talking to high school students about the dangers of taking steroids.

    "I think it was a situation that forced him to take a hard look at some things, and through it all, it was a tough situation but the way he handled it all, he handled it very well," his former Defensive Coordinator Richard Nagy said. "And to be honest with you, he handled it in a way that he had to handle it in order to make it a situation, not so much a positive, but trying to learn and grow from it. He never once denied it. He never once tried to make an excuse for it. He just listened to some wrong advice from some wrong people. Luckily he sort of wavered on it and never took them, but he had them on him and was guilty enough. I think the good thing is even in his own conscience he knew it wasn't the right thing to do."

    Cooper, 23, of Wareham, Mass., pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge last December. He said he'd planned to use the pills after the season ended to bulk up for a career in the NFL, and that he did not use performance-enhancing drugs while at Maine.

    A search of the vehicle by a state trooper turned up more than 1,200 pills, Cooper acknowledged that the pills were his, and that they were steroids.

    It will be interesting to see what they decide to do with Cooper when Edwards returns to the lineup.

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