Bye Week Charger Blues, and Gold

Some players will be getting away while others have plans with their families for quiet time at home. While they embark on a four-day hiatus, football runs in these San Diego Chargers' veins. And staying mentally sharp is part of the process.

There will be Caribbean cruises or trips to Africa. No climbing Mount Everest or ice fishing in Alaska.

Nick Hardwick and Shane Olivea will head to the Big Ten to see Ohio State face Purdue. Antonio Gates will stay close to home and has plans for putting in some extra work. Donnie Edwards will spend some quality time with his wife, the History Channel and surfing the web, perhaps reading this site? And Marty Schottenheimer will get in some recreation with his family.

"We will get a chance to reflect on the front nine and have seven holes on the back to play," Schottenheimer said.

It is a necessary process in the NFL and a coffee break to a never ending season. Football is year round and the small opportunities to get away should be coveted.

"A lot of guys are ready for this break," said Edwards. "Just to take time off, sit back and reflect on these past nine games. Get our batteries recharged so when we do come out we know what is ahead of us."

Schottenheimer stresses to his troops the importance of focus. He told his team about a player who got in trouble with the law during the bye week and warned them about being put in an awkward position. The team is essential and one problem could have a cascade effect.

The message was clear and his subjects understood.

"Us, as a unit have to realize it is not over yet," linebacker Steve Foley said.

The Chargers had a workout on Wednesday which Schottenheimer was pleased with given the circumstances. It was one day of workouts sandwiched around six days of play. But even on weeks when they are granted the day off on Monday's and Tuesday's, players come in to do their film work and on Tuesday spend time in the community.

This break is for the players and coaches to enjoy some real time away.

"We have been going strong since the end of July," Edwards added. "These four days off will get our minds away from football."

But football is the only thing on the minds of many San Diegans. The team is playing well and atop the AFC West with Denver. Coming off the bye week they go to Oakland and the road continues to get tougher.

While the players will be taking their bodies away, their minds will remain on the task of making the playoffs. Many of them subscribe to the Schottenheimer philosophy of taking it one game at a time, especially given the track record and the next few division games could marker in their fate.

The Chargers are in an enviable position. It is the tenth week of the season and they are getting their bye week in. It is a chance to get healthy and make the run every player dreams about.

"We are very happy to be in the position we are, but we have a lot of work to do," quarterback Drew Brees said. "Playoffs. That is where we want to go."

They can't afford to get too relaxed during the rest of the week and how they respond in Oakland could be the true determining factor of their playoff chances.

Lightning Quicks:

  • "I saw two cuts, going to his right, that were vintage LT," Schottenheimer said of his star back. "I have seen clear visual evidence of him making the cuts that we are accustomed to seeing."

    Still, Schottenheimer would not say LaDainian Tomlinson would be at 100 percent for the Raiders game, despite the bye week.


  • Zeke Moreno could be out a while based on the way Schottenheimer spoke of him. They still do not know the extent of the shoulder injury but the coach warned it could be a while before Moreno is back.

    Eric Downing had a minor knee procedure – a scope – and he is expected to be available for the Oakland game.

    All the other injuries are status quo for now.


  • How many wins will it take for the Bolts to make the playoffs?

    "We win em all, I think we will be ok," Schottenheimer quipped.


  • Denis Savage can be reached at denis@sandiegosports.net

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