Chargers Gameday Primer: Titans

The Chargers are facing a must win situation.<br><br> The San Diego Chargers, and more exact Marty Schottenheimer and Drew Brees, need a win this Sunday at home against the Tennessee Titans. The coach and the quarterback are on increasingly thin ice.

While Drew Brees could lose his starting job with another dreadful performance, he won't be fired. Marty Schottenheimer has to feel the flame under his seat – even if he won't comment on it.

Chargers On Offense:

"I'm pleased with the progress that's being made," Schottenheimer said, "but we've got a long way to go yet."

The offense has gone anywhere but forward. Right now it wouldn't surprise to see Drew Brees continue to fall on his face. He has yet to rise above adversity. The reports of pressure on him are not overblown, but successful NFL quarterbacks make the adjustments and turn blitzes into payment. It is hard to remember the last time Brees did that.

"There is a lot of talent on the Chargers football team right now, starting with the running back," Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said. "There is a very good tight end that people don't know about. He is leading their team in receptions right now."

Antonio Gates is known about. That is why he has been limited after a 100-yard game to begin the season. No one knows about the rest of the receivers on San Diego. None have elevated their play to be worthy of being a significant threat.

"We have to step up as a receiving corps," Dwight said.

Only Reche Caldwell has shown the ability to get open and make plays. The staff was idiotic enough to consider putting Caldwell back to return punts if Eric Parker could not go. Imagine losing Caldwell because of a ploy like that.

So it comes down to LaDainian Tomlinson. Tomlinson won't have much room out there, as usual.

The Titans may have been weak against the run in the past but who respects the Chargers passing game.

"Number 92, (Albert Haynesworth) is very, very good and very hard to move anywhere," Schottenheimer said. "That young man sits down in there and decides he isn't going anywhere, you could put four guys on (him) and he's not going to move. I think he is a terrific player."

Lorenzo Neal remains bitter about the team letting "the best fullback in the league" go. He could be on a special mission this week to make sure Tomlinson has room to run.

"He is one of the most passionate guys I've been around," said Tomlinson. "He is very affective. He just loves to hit people. That is the kind of guy you want blocking for you."

Chargers On Defense:

The primary threat has to be Chris Brown this week. He is a vastly different threat than the runner they faced a week ago. Brown is powerful and can move a pile.

It will be a challenge to the Chargers front seven. Last week they quickly closed gaps and were able to bump Quentin Griffin. This week they must wrap up and tackle.

"There is an Eric Dickerson appearance to him as he runs," said Schottenheimer. "He will go in there and make a yard, he'll make two yards, he'll make three yards and the next thing you know he is running 30 yards. He has got that ability to finish runs, which is very impressive."

The Chargers are fifth in the league in defending the run. They are not as lucky in the pass defense department.

The secondary will be challenged. They have given up a 73.3 completion percentage through three games. Whether Steve McNair makes it on the field, and he will be a game-time decision, or Billy Volek, they have to be salivating. Tyrone Calico will return to the lineup, giving the Titans the ability to put three wide receiver sets on the field.

If the pass rush is non-existent, the Chargers could be in for another long day. They have yet to show they can play a complete game defensively. When one leak is plugged another springs.

"We have a good team in Tennessee coming in and we have to win," linebacker Randall Godfrey said.

The Lightning round:

"This team has heart," Schottenheimer said. "We have a test coming up against the Titans. This team is going to come back and keep fighting."


Titans 23
Chargers 14

Denis Savage can be reached at

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