Nothing comes easy in the NFL, right?
"Nothing," LaDainian Tomlinson said.
Tomlinson and the Chargers should be feel good about things. And they are, to the degree that they own a share of the AFC West lead at 6-3, and just chilled during the bye week.
But a cold slap of reality greeted the Chargers when reporting back on Monday. Coach Marty Schottenheimer was there, with a rare Monday practice which included pads. And he also drilled into their heads -- for the umpteenth time -- that the team hasn't really accomplished anything yet.
Need proof? Just look at the 2002 team, which was riding high at 6-1, only to finish 8-8 and out of the playoffs.
There are not many players still around from that squad. Tomlinson is one of them, which is why he hasn't ordered his playoff tickets just yet.
"So the goal is the same that it has been," Tomlinson said. "The goal is one game at a time and we got to focus on the opponent that we have this week."
The Raiders are up next. Just three weeks ago, the Chargers spanked them to the tune of 42-14. But Tomlinson isn't expecting another cake walk. This Sunday, or in any of the remaining seven Sundays.
"We're not a team that can get ahead of ourselves and start looking ahead because we don't have the experience to know what it takes to make the playoffs," he said. "So we have to play like this is out last game and were trying to get a playoff spot."
The experience the Chargers do have is of fast starts and startling pratfalls. But Tomlinson said although the 2002 flameout is fresh in his mind, he doesn't mention that particular season often.
"I don't, because we really don't have many guys on the team that went through that," he said. "So I don't remind them at all.
"We are always just constantly on each other to stay focused, and someone is always saying something to keep the eye on the prize, keep your eye on the goal, remembers what we are after. Just to stay focused."
The Chargers figured to get tested Sunday, even if the Raiders are 3-6. Tomlinson is quick to remind that nothing comes easy in the NFL.
Easy as Sunday morning
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