Tired bones set to heal

Wednesday is the only day the Chargers will practice this week. They will go to a normal schedule beginning next week with work on Monday and an off-day Tuesday.

It's such a robotic response from NFL coaches: "Yes, the bye has come at good time for us."

But in the Chargers' case, it's more than coach-speak. The Chargers truly are weary after a rugged five-game swing, and embrace this bye week with both arms.

The Chargers kept their playoff hopes alive with a thrilling victory over the New York Jets on Sunday. Although the Chargers, at 5-4, aren't quite where the defending AFC West champions expected to be.

But it could be worse. Just like this bye couldn't come at a better time.

Seven starters were missing on Sunday, the by-product of playing both of last season's Super Bowl teams in two of three trips to the East Coast over five weeks.

The Chargers are tired, plain and simple. Especially when four of their past five opponents were coming off their byes.

Now it's the Chargers' week to put their feet up.

And coach Marty Schottenheimer is letting them do just that. The team will work just the one day this week before reporting back Nov. 14 to begin preparing for the Buffalo Bills.

Schottenheimer can accept where his team is, and is excited on where it might go.

"We are one game off the pace from this time a year ago, and I believe we are a better football team than we were a year ago," said Schottenheimer, alluding to the Chargers' four defeats coming by a combined 12 points.

The point of this week is to lick the wounds and prepare for a seven-game stretch with a playoff berth at stake.

After that bummer of a defeat in Philly two weeks ago, Schottenheimer christened a new a nine-game season for the Chargers. So far, his ploy is working just fine.

"We feel pretty good at where we are," Schottenheimer said. "We are 2-0 in the new season."

And with a whole week to relish it.

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