Chargers face a Titanic test

After embarrassing the Raiders in front of a national audience, the Chargers now prepare to take on a rebuilt Titans team in week two - and could get a player from them during the bye week.

Although the Titans won but a quarter of their games last season and dropped this season's opener against the Jets, they have enough talent to be competitive in what could be a trap game for San Diego.

The Chargers have a bye following this week's game and would love to be undefeated and sitting atop the AFC West when they get their early respite.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher, however, believes his team improved enough over the offseason to keep that from happening.

"We're very happy about the unrestricted free agents that we've brought to the club, and of course we're seeing some promise out of this year's draft class as well as the last couple years'. We're very young, but we feel like we're getting ready to make another run at it," Fisher said.

Youth will be a prominent theme in this game, as Philip Rivers will make his second career start for the Chargers while Vince Young should see some time in his second ever game as a pro. Although Kerry Collins will start, Young can still make a big impact in a short amount of time. He can push the ball downfield and is touted as one of the best scrambling quarterbacks in the league. Given how the Chargers defense played in Oakland, he better be.

"They understand offense," said Fisher of the Chargers defense after watching it dominate in week one. "They took things away with scheme, with ability and with energy. They were very, very impressive to watch."

Less impressive was the Chargers offensive output, although Philip Rivers did well when given the opportunity. He expects to pass more this week when he duels a Titans offense led by Norm Chow, the man who once coached Philip at North Carolina State.

"Coach Chow did a great job with me," Rivers said. "I only had him one year, but it was a special year for me in getting me ready to play. Fundamentally in a bunch of ways I probably wasn't very good, but he was able to give me a chance to play early in my career. I learned a lot from him and have a ton of respect for him."

While Chow may be able to offer some insights on Rivers' game, there are a couple of Chargers with first-hand knowledge of the Titans organization. Veterans Lorenzo Neal and Randall Godfrey both spent time under Coach Fisher in Tennessee.

"Both are very, very important to what we're doing," said Coach Marty Schottenheimer of Neal and Godfrey. "Both continue to play at an extremely high level. They've both done a terrific job. Then of course the bonus in it for the Chargers is the leadership they bring."

Now it is up to veteran leaders like Neal and Godfrey to lead the Chargers into the bye week blemish free.

Lightning Quicks:

* Antonio Cromartie could see time returning kickoffs this weekend. He has been working on the return phase throughout the week and offers more explosion, generally an asset, than Michael Turner.

* The Chargers continue to explore trade talks with the Titans for quarterback Billy Volek. Sources have confirmed that a deal could be consummated by early next week - after the teams play on Sunday. The rumors have San Diego sending a second-day pick to Tennessee, possibly as high as a fourth rounder.

The urgency of acquiring Volek has been inflated with the bye week ahead, making his assimilation into the offense a little easier as he would have two weeks to learn the playbook.

The Chargers never used up the roster spot they gained after putting Steve Foley on injured reserve, believed to be saving it for such a deal.


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