Lightning Quicks: Making connections

The Chargers and Chiefs have a lot in common. From draft-day connections to offensive philosophies to high-profile rookies, these teams share more than their AFC West residency. On Sunday, they will share Arrowhead field as the two teams fight for a much-needed victory that only can claim.

Draft Day Connection

Quentin Jammer, the fifth overall pick in the 2002 draft, takes a lot of heat for not playing up to his lofty draft status. The criticism stems from the fact that he only intercepted six passes during his first four years in the league. Jammer has quelled some of that talk with his play this season, as he has already intercepted two passes and is anchoring the league's second-best pass defense.

While Jammer has seemingly turned the corner, the man taken directly behind him continues to disappoint. Ryan Sims, taken by the Chiefs with the sixth overall pick, has registered only five career sacks and has been replaced in the starting line-up by journeymen James Reed and Ron Edwards.

Draft Day Connection, Part Two

The Chargers and Chiefs had back-to-back picks in the second round of the 2004 draft, and each decided to draft a defensive lineman from Oregon. The Chargers went with Igor Olshansky; the Chiefs selected Junio Siavii.

Olshansky has been a starter since his rookie season and helped anchor last year's top run defense. Siavii was cut earlier this year, finishing his career in Kansas City with just 13 tackles and a sack.

Olshansky will miss the game with a knee injury.

Dominating Duos

The Chargers and Chiefs run very similar offenses, each featuring the running back and tight end extensively. The logic there is obvious. The Chiefs duo of Larry Johnson and Tony Gonzalez were playing together in Hawaii at the end of last season. The Chargers' LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates were right there with them.

"Tomlinson is the big runner for them, but he's also a big pass-catcher out of the backfield," Kansas City head coach Herman Edwards said. "He's their leading rusher and receiver. There's Parker and Gates, too."

Both teams will rely on screens and swing passes to get the ball to their running backs in the open field. The Chargers do this because Tomlinson is so dangerous in space. The Chiefs will be forced to follow suit because, with Willie Roaf having retired, Johnson is averaging less than 3.5 yards per rush.

At least they sound good

The name power in the Kansas City secondary is staggering. With players like Ty Law, Patrick Surtain and Sammy Knight, the Chiefs could be impossible to throw against…assuming each member of the aforementioned trio wasn't five years past his prime.

Expect Eric Parker to have a big day against this group. Given his relentless style of play, Parker may just run these Kansas City corners into early retirement.

"He is a guy you trust and a guy you know where he is going to be," quarterback Philip Rivers said of one of his favorite target.

Rookie Report

Antonio Cromartie, touted as one of the draft's best playmakers, has yet to make a single game-altering play. That could change this week if the Chargers can force to Chiefs to play from behind and air the ball out.

Cromartie was taken three spots after Chiefs rookie Tamba Hali. Thus far, Hali has been the better player, netting 25 tackles and 2.5 sacks through just five games. Cromartie will be looking to close the productivity gap come Sunday.


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