Chargers must overcome again

It has been a crazy year for the San Diego Chargers. They have faced more off the field issues than ever before.

Team Distraction tries to stiff-arm another incident once again.

The Chargers entertain the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, after a tumultuous week that saw their best defensive player suspended for four games.

Pro Bowl linebacker Shawne Merriman will miss the first of his four games on Sunday. And the Chargers -- who have had more than their share of off-the-field incidents -- will slap on the blinders again and worry about the task at hand.

This week, it's beating a Browns team that got a big lift by beating the Jets last week. Cleveland has a new coordinator in Jeff Davidson and is hoping to salvage a season that got off track early.

The Chargers should handle the 2-5 Browns with ease. But then again, it will come down to focusing on the opponent, and not what has been in the news all week.

Coach Marty Schottenheimer can smell an NFL trap from miles away. That's why he has been harping on what the team's 5-2 mark and share of the AFC West lead means.

"We haven't done anything yet," Schottenheimer said. "We've gone out and played well enough to win five games out of seven, but we've got more than half a season left."

The Chargers keep losing players left and right to suspensions, injuries and shootings. But Schottenheimer refuses to use those setbacks as an alibi and he told his players they need to be keen Sunday, regarding of the opponent.

"I would like to think that our players understand that in this business, you're only as good as your next performance," Schottenheimer said. "Anything that you've done to this point really doesn't matter. It's irrelevant. We've worked hard to get to 5-2 and the midpoint of the season is at hand. We've got another game at home. We'll approach it on that basis."

So much for back-slapping and atta-boys. Those can wait.

Although Schottenheimer did slip and allow that the Chargers' offense was humming in its win over the Rams. And, he would take another performance on Sunday.

"I thought that offensively we were able to play a complete game," he said. "We threw it well and we ran it well. I thought that the offensive line did an excellent job in blocking in the running game. The offensive line was very, very solid in the protection phase. It may have been the best we've played in the line this season."

But he's trying to convince his players the best is yet to come.


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