Chargers don't want Tomlinson to be blacked out

The San Diego Chargers' will play the first home game to be blacked out on local TV since 1997 on Sunday when the New York Jets come to town. Coming off a significant road win, the Bolts are looking to find out what the team is made of. The Jets feel the same way after several Septembers to forget.

"We have to realize that winning the first game doesn't mean we're off to a fast start," quarterback Chad Pennington said. "Now our goal is to go out and play in a hostile environment against a team that can run the ball."

"We're very pleased with how we played and the focus we had on the road. It was a loud crowd. We were able to get out there and win," LaDainian Tomlinson said. "We know we have a lot more ropes to go. We're getting ready for a good New York Jets team."

One thing that Chargers players won't forget until they get vengeance is the 44-13 drubbing they took at the hands of the Jets back in 2002.

It was a thorough thrashing that sent the Chargers into a downward spiral. They have won seven games since then and have lost 18.

The team has been in such a flux that this past offseason so another round of wholesale changes.

Those still with the team can't forget that.

"I'm sure they still have some players who remember that," Pennington said.

It becomes even more paramount when the team looks out at all the empty seats and more Jets fans than Chargers fans. It won't be so hostile as Pennington thinks.

Marty Schottenheimer is hoping that the fans suddenly come off the surfboards and wind up at Qualcomm on Sunday. With some 14,000 tickets unsold – it simply won't happen.

"Our fan support becomes very important in a game like this," Schottenheimer urged. "If we can get a big crowd in there, I think it will be very beneficial to our opportunity to be successful. (Houston) is the kind of environment we hope to create this Sunday."

As for the game, the Jets are coming in prepared. Much like the Chargers, they cannot take much for granted.

New York Jets coach Herm Edwards acknowledged LaDainian Tomlinson first as expected and went directly to Antonio Gates as his second target of affection. The secret is out – well, sorta.

The New York media, however, doesn't know as much about Gates and therefore the talk centered on Tomlinson.

"It is probably going to hurt your ankle trying to tackle him," Edwards said of running back LaDainian Tomlinson. "He can make you miss. Very good C.O.D., change of direction."

The focus, obviously for the Jets will be on Tomlinson. They realize what a threat he is and the Chargers know they have to get him going no matter what the opposition brings against him.

The Jets have a solid line but have been suspect against the run in the past. With the best back in the league coming in, it could be an area the Chargers can still exploit while the Jets defense is still in the works under Defensive Coordinator Donnie Henderson.

Schottenheimer thinks his offensive line will be a strength again this week as the Jets will likely play more 3-4 than they did in the opener.

"We worked so much against our 3-4, it was beneficial," Schottenheimer said.

"He can make you miss in a space," Edwards said of LT. "He's very, very strong-legged, a downhill runner. In other words, he doesn't mess around figuring out where he wants to go. He's going to get the ball, attack the line of scrimmage, and he has great vision. If you hold coverage, he has the great vision to escape on the back side and then cut back on the run. He can do it all. He's a heck of a football player. He really is a good football player."

Lightning Quicks:

  • The Chargers have been very good in home openers with a record of 29-15 (.659). A win would mark the 16th time the team has started 2-0.

  • The Chargers have the fifth heaviest offensive line in the AFC, averaging 311.7 pounds. The average age of the entire team is 25.75.

  • Drew Brees was nominated for AFC Offensive Player of the Week in week one but was edged out by a man the Chargers will see on Sunday – Curtis Martin.

  • Nate Kaeding was nominated for AFC Special Teams Player of the Week but the award went to Denver kicker/punter Micah Knorr.

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