Posts Tagged ‘San Diego Chargers’

Like poo on a shoe I have a feeling the Cardinals will not be removed from the playoffs this week as Kurt gets busy through the sky

There’s nothing like starting my divisional playoff predictions with a Kylie Minogue song reference, but ‘I can’t get the Cardinals out of my head’ and as long as Kurt Waner hasn’t been concussed and is lying in a heap on the Superdome floor I smell an upset.

I got three out of the four Wild Card games right last week, with my only mistake being predicting an Eagles win against the Cowboys. I have to admit the only reason I went with Philly was because they were my pre-season Superbowl prediction, and I didn’t want to be a hypocrite.

Well now its time to dust down the Mystic Meg costume and sprinkle so prediction powder on the 2009-2010 NFL Divisional Playoff round;

NFC – Cardinals @ Saints

If you thought you saw an unforgettable fireworks display last week in the desert, this could be bigger, better faster and even higher scoring (seriously). Bizarrely this game will not come down to the quality of the QBs or WRs, it will come down to the team that has the most convincing running game. Mike Bell and Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush versus Tim Hightower and Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells. Momentum is a funny thing and the Cardinals will have it in bucket loads after their electric game last week, whereas the Saints looked awful after they lost their unbeaten record to the Cowboys (and yes I know the Saints were playing scrubs Week 17). Both teams have dominant All-Pro safeties in the form of Adrian Wilson and Darren Sharper, but both team CBs (as a unit) are not the best in the league. Providing the Cardinals offensive line keeps up the work rate then they have the ability to push Arizona into a 2nd NFC championship in a row.

Prediction – Cardinals 38-33 Saints – Game MVP Kurt Warner 307 yards passing 3 touchdowns.

NFC – Cowboys @ Vikings

I have even having to type the word Favre, seeing as he should have retired in the last decade, but here I am again talking about Mr Wrangler. The Vikings and the Cowboys match up pretty well, and I have to say this is going to be the biggest game of the weekend, with two star studded squads that can boast remarkable offensive lines, excellent quarterbacks, and defensive studs – exemplified by the Cowboys DeMarcus Ware and the Vikings mullet wearing nut job Jared Allen. Both teams have receivers that have had bonanza breakout seasons (Miles Austin and Sidney Rice), and both have some depth and ability to change the gears with their running games. Now the romantics will want Brett to take his weapons to the NFC Championship but I have Dallas showing why they are no longer a team to be laughed at when it comes to the business end of the season. That and the fact Felix Jones is just about the only human being I know that could keep pace with Chris Johnson in a running race. Wait for Felix to do something jaw dropping and then let others know you read it here.

Prediction – Cowboys 27-24 Vikings – Game MVP Tony Romo 311 yards and 2 touchdowns

AFC – Jets @ Chargers

It doesn’t matter what you wear, what you smell like or whether you know your tango from your Foxtrot, providing you have a ticket to the dance you can do whatever you like on the dance floor. Take a bow the Rex Ryan led New York Jets. The Jets have the number one defense and the number one running game, but they now face a team that has the hottest winning streak in the NFL. We all have to admit that Ladanian Tomlinson is no longer the same 20+ touchdown monster that he has been, but he still has a nose for the end zone. The maturation of Vincent Jackson has countered the decline in LT’s skills, and Antonio Gates continues to remain at top three fantasy TE for San Diego. This should be the game that signifies the Philip Rivers era in the AFC, but Jets CB Darrell Revis is that good that he can kill off Jackson and force Rivers to make passes that he might not want to attempt. This game will be the lowest scoring and it could come down to the kicking game (both field goals and field position from punts). It could be a bit of magic from Darren Sproles that blows this game open but I see the Jets leaving California with their Superbowl dream still intact.

Prediction – Jets 19-16 Chargers – Game MVP Thomas Jones 103 yards rushing 1 touchdown

AFC – Ravens @ Colts

The Ravens blew past the Patriots from the first offensive play and then like a skilled surfer dude they rode the wave of momentum to build up a lead that even Tom Brady could not claw back. The Colts will simply not allow this to happen as Peyton Manning will lock and load time after time to help Indy create an early lead. The Ravens running game is pretty special and Ray Rice was rewarded for his show of skills by gaining a 2nd Team All-Pro selection earlier this week. With support from Willis McGahee the Ravens running game has been  up there with the best. This game is in my opinion the Colts to win, with their home fans, home turf and NFL MVP. If the Colts get a 21 point lead this game could get ugly. I would love to see the unfashionable Ravens get the upset and set up a defensive slug fest with the Jets for the rights to go to the Superbowl, but this is Manning’s time. The Colts have no Steelers or Patriots to face and they just have to much speed to be stopped. Reggie Wayne to have a beast of a game and Dallas Clark to cause headaches to the Baltimore D all day long.

Prediction – Colts 30-19 Ravens – Game MVP Reggie Wayne 121 yards and 1 touchdown

Any thoughts???????

Advertisements
My upset special McNabb to lead the Eagles to an NFC Championship

My upset special McNabb to lead the Eagles to an NFC Championship

I went 3 out of 4 in the Wild Card weekend and even got an exact score (Falcons 24) so I have a bit of pressure on for the divisional playoff round.

There are usually less upsets this round than in the Wild Card week but I have a feeling that the home teams will take a bit of a battering this Sat and Sun, so here goes, time to put my money where my mouth is……..

Sat., Jan. 10, 4:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Baltimore (11-5, 1-0) at Tennessee (13-3)
Kevin Mawae is out and that is huge.  The veteran Titans C is the rock that has led the way for Lendale ‘who ate all the pies’ White and Chris Johnson to dominate 13 teams this season. No one needs to read here how good the Ravens defense is – but people do need to finally pay respect to Baltimore WR Derek Mason who has shown that he is one of the most reliable wideouts in the entire NFL. Can Ed ‘ball magnet’ Reed get another INT – most likely !
Key 1) Baltimore getting a big run early as opposed to a big run late
Key 2) Albert Haynesworth pressuring rookie Joe Flacco
Key 3) Joe Flacco staying the hell away from Cortland Finnegan
Key 4) Kerry Collins not being forced to pass if Titans go down
Prediction – Baltimore 23-17 Tennessee – Game MVP – LeRon McClain (2tds)
Sun., Jan. 11, 4:45 p.m. ET, CBS
San Diego (8-8, 1-0) at Pittsburgh (12-4)
The Chargers are living the dream, and after using the pocket rocket Darren Sproles to kill the Colts. This time around the Sprolesmeister will have been on the Steelers radar. The Steelers D line is a lightyear above the Colts D line so Rivers will be forced to pass the Chargers up and down the field. Big Ben Roethlisberger has shown that he can guide a team through the playoffs, and I have a feeling that Pitt WR Nate Washington will come up with a huge catch that turns the game. I don’t expect a quality 1st half, but the Steelers have enough class to hang in there.
Key 1) Hines Ward getting 4 catches in the first half
Key 2) Can LT be any sort of factor in the game?
Key 3) Big Ben not fumbling the ball
Key 4) Santonio Holmes drawing double teams to free up Nate Washington
Prediction – San Diego 10-20 Pittsburgh – MVP Ben Roethlisberger (1 td and 250 yards passing)
Sat., Jan. 10, 8:15 p.m. ET, FOX
Arizona (9-7, 1-0) at Carolina (12-4)
Wouldn’t it be fun to see the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship against a former NFC East division foe? Well I really want to write this will be a Cardinals win, but I just can’t. The hype given to Edgarrin James last week was nonsense. He got 73 rushing yards in a Wild Card game – so freaking what. If he got 173 then I would be saing wow. The Panthers have the all round quality to win this without going into 5th gear, but I am sure they will make a bit of a meal of it and Jake Delhomme will get intercepted at least once. Look to DeAngelo Williams to show his class on a national stage but Jonathan Stewart to get the fanatsy tds.
Key 1) Cardinals DBs not getting called for pass inteference in the first half
Key 2) Jake Delhomme sticking to the plan and not trying to be a hero early on
Key 3) Steve Breaston showing up and getting some 1st quarter catches
Key 4) Panthers safeties not being exposed by the long ball
Prediction – Arizona 21-28 Carolina – MVP DeAngelo Williams (120 all purpose yards)
Sun., Jan. 11, 1 p.m. ET, FOX
Philadelphia (9-6-1, 1-0) at N.Y. Giants (12-4)
There has to be one upset special each week and I’ll call it here. I do not think the New York Giants are a dynasty and despite their good record they will finally sucumb to a Donovan McNabb led team that will win a nailbiter. Brian Westbrook will get more involved early in this game, and Eli Manning will make a huge mistake in the 2nd quarter that will turn the momentum. Giants pressure will again be relentless, but the Eagles will gameplan against it, using short passing to neautralise the agression on Kiwanuka and Tuck. Expect it to be close, but expect the Eagles to leave Giants stadium with their playoff dreams intact.
Key 1) The Eagles run d adapting to the difering styles of Brandon Jacbs and Derrick Ward
Key 2) McNabb finding TEs and RBs for short passes to set up a big ol bomb
Key 3) DeSean Jackson getting one big return
Key 4) Kevin Boss living up to his name
Prediction – Philadelphia 31-30 NY Giants – MVP Donovan Mc Nabb (3 tds 240 yards passing)
What do you all think?
Boldin and Fitzgerald will show their class during the crazy Wild Card weekend

Boldin and Fitzgerald will show their class during the crazy Wild Card weekend (Pic Lacy Atkins/The Chronicle)

This is where it all matters, where all the effort means death or glory, over four or maybe even five quarters.

I for one did not expect to see the Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins or the Minnesota Vikings in the post season.
As for the Eagles, Colts, Chargers and Ravens – I thought they were capable of making it to part 2. I also had a degree of expectation that the Arizona Cardinals could scrape a wild card, but with such a weak division they surprised many and won a home playoff game.
Here are my predictions for the crazy crazy Wild Card Weekend………..
AFC
Sat., Jan. 3, 8 p.m. ET, NBC
Indianapolis (12-4) @ San Diego (8-8)
Colts to win 31-27 – This will be some revenge for Peyton Manning and his Colts, who were killed off by the Chargers in the playoffs last season. I have a feeling the Colts will jump out to an early 14-0 lead but the Chargers will then dominate right up until the final drive, where Dominic Rhodes punches the winner in from 3 yards away.
Sun., Jan. 4, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Baltimore (11-5) @ Miami (11-5)
Baltimore to win 23-10 – This will unfortunately be a proverbial wicked witch coming down from her broomstick to spoil the fairytale Dolphins season. Not a pretty game to watch the Ravens will rely on their running game with Rice and McClain showing that they have plenty left in the tank. Pennington will again be accurate but he will not have the time to get big 10 play 80 yard drives.
NFC
Sat., Jan. 3, 4:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Atlanta (11-5) @ Arizona (9-7)
Arizona to win 27-24 (OT) – This is my upset special even if the Cardinals are the division winning home team. Atlanta will look to establish the run with Michael Turner and the underrated Jerious Norwood (who I think could start somewhere like Denver). Kurt Warner will be expecting the pass rush from John Abraham, but with 3 1000 yard wideouts in his arsenal this will be the time for Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald to show that they are the top tandem in the NFL.
Sun., Jan 4, 4:30 p.m. ET, FOX
Philadelphia (9-6-1) @ Minnesota (10-6)
Philadelphia to win 29-16 – Brian Westbrook will show the entire NFL world that he is the best all purpose back in the NFL, as he goes for 175 all purpose yards and two touchdowns. Adrian Petersen will show some potential, but the playoff pressure will get to him and he will ultimately be the second best back on the field. One of the no name Eagles wideouts will get a huge td – someone like Hank Baskett or Jason Avant – and that will kill off the Vikings.
Cue the counter arguments……….

Mike Tolbert congratulates Antonio Gates - Tolbert is under the radar but he could make a big difference today at WembleyI hope everyone has a magical day, and that the NFL message reaches thousands, even millions of new people thanks to both BBC and Sky tv coverage and those who are coming to see a game for the first time.

Here are a few lesser known players that I say will have some bearing on the outcome of the game (which I still have the Chargers winning 24-21)…..

Mike Tolbert (pictured left jumping on Antonio Gates) – San Diego Chargers fullback – #35 – He is a rookie that has had to step into the rater large shoes of Lorenzo Neal – who should go to the Hall of Fame as one of the greatest players in his position. Tolbert has made 10 catches so far, averaging 13.4 yards a catch, and with so much focus on LT it could be Tolbert that converts some crucial 3rd downs.

Eric Weddle – San Diego Chargers safety – #32 – He is another young player in only his second season, but surprising to some he is leading the Chargers in tackles with 59. He is able to sniff out where the ball is, and is on course for over 100 tackles in only his first full season starting. Weddle will no doubt cover every blade of Wembley grass today, so look out for him laying hits on the likes of Jeremy Shockey and Matt Campbell.

Billy Miller and Mark Campbell – New Orleans Saints tight ends – #83 and #80 – Now people all know Jeremy Shockey and for those at Wembley for the Giants win over the Dolphins they will be familiar with the ink armed warrior. It has been the likes of Miller and Campbell that have been moving the chains in Shockey’s injury absence, and helping Drew Brees to rack up those yards. Both are support acts, but both have great hands, and if the Saints go into a two TE formation they could find gaps in the Chargers secondary for crucial 10 yard gains. Miller in fact is averaging 15.1 yards a catch on his 16 catches which is over a third more than Shockey’s 9.6 on 21 catches.

Kendrick Clancy – New Orleans Saints defensive tackle – #71 – Clancy has bounced round the NFL having played for the Steelers, the Giants and the Cardinals, but he looks to have found a good home in Louisiana. He has started all 7 games this season, gaining 20 tackles and two sacks. Clancy will be one of the guys that fans new to the game will find hard to track in the pile of bodies each down, but Clancy plays hard and can do a great job getting his hands on LaDanian Tomlinson.

Lance Moore – New Orleans Saints wide receiver – #16 – Very quietly Lance Moore actually leads all Saints wide receivers in catches with 32 (for 341 yards) after 7 games. The likes of Marques will get the headlines because he is the stud and coming back from injury, and Devery Henderson has an eye popping 31 yards a catch, but it is Moore that comes up with the clutch catches time after time. With Reggie Bush out for Wembley Moore is also likey to return kicks, so look to #16 having a huge impact on the game as he will no longer be the focus of the Chargers star cornerback Antonio Cromartie.

Everyone going have fun – its gonna be like Christmas day for thousands of NFL FANS IN ENGLAND (and the rest of the UK and Europe).

With under a week to go before the San Diego Chargers take on the New Orleans Saints at Wembley NFLFANINENGLAND has some great interview footage below.

I wont claim any credit for any of the interviews below, but seeing as I am sure you will want to read as much as you can with the Chargers and the Saints under a week away, here is three transcripts from earlier today. These interviews are courtesy of the fantastic San Diego Chargers PR staff. Thankyou all.

Coach Norv is in da house - for the 3rd time

Coach Norv is in da house - for the 3rd time

Head Coach Norv Turner

 

 

 

How do you treat this week as far as curfews and free time and things for the players?

“We have a normal schedule.  We have a pretty tight schedule and obviously these first couple days they have a little more time in terms of freedom.  Tuesday is our normal day off.  When we get into Wednesday it’s our regular schedule and then late in the week certainly there will be a curfew.”

 

When they’re at home, do they have a curfew?

“Players living at homes, apartments, houses and whatever … no there’s no curfew when they’re at home.”

 

You were scheduled to practice today.  Why did you decide not to go on the field?

“Our guys worked out.  They went in the weight room and worked out and got a workout in.  Obviously we have a light practice at times at home, but after playing a game, the workout and getting the sweat going is the most critical thing.”

 

Have you had a chance to watch the tape from Buffalo ?

“We watched it quickly and got into it.  Obviously we were in the process of doing that as you guys were speaking with Philip and LT.”

 

What are your thoughts about it a day later?

“The biggest thing … sometimes after the game you make comments and you may be off base and sometimes you’re right.  Obviously we had two critical turnovers, one at midfield when we had the lead and gave them a short field.  We had a critical interception going in (to the endzone) late in the fourth quarter.  The other things we talked about: our inability to get them off the field, in terms of creating pass rush. I thought there were times on third down if we had tackled better we could have gotten them off the field and kept them putting together long drives.  Then we’re not running the ball the way we need to.  We need to run the ball better.”

 

What are your feelings about playing in London ?

“I’m excited.  It’s an exciting trip for me; for our players.  Our guys will handle it well in terms of the preparation.  To play well, preparation is always the key.  We have a great facility here.  The field is in fabulous condition.  The gentlemen that did the work on it and prepared everything did an outstanding job.  We couldn’t ask for a better facility in terms of us getting ready.  I’ve been over here a couple times in the preseason and I know how exciting the games are.  That was preseason, so I know being a regular season game and the way the crowd gets into it and how they respond, it will be exciting for everyone involved.”

 

Last year’s Giants-Dolphins game was played in the rain and was low scoring.  Do you think with conditions being different, scoring may be higher this time?

“I think every year you do this, you learn from it.  I’ve been told the field is in great shape.  We’ve got two very good quarterbacks.  Both teams are capable of scoring points.  I would like to see us score points and hold them down.”

 

What do you expect from the crowd, with it being not just Chargers and Saints fans but a mix of NFL fans?

“Sometimes you don’t know what to expect, but as I said, in my experiences being here, the crowds have been outstanding.  They’ve been loud and full of energy.  It makes for a accelerated atmosphere.”

 

When were you in London before?

“I came here once with the Rams and once with the Cowboys in the late 80’s, early 90’s.”

 

With the fans not really aligned with either team, how do they react?

“It has been a while for me but I do remember it being awfully loud and exciting.”

With the way the season has gone for the Chargers, does this trip come at a good time?

“You really have to do this, and that’s not a pat answer; you really have to do this as an NFL player or coach. The schedule comes out, everything is determined and you know what it is.  You have to get it in your mind and say, ‘Here’s what it is and we’ve got to handle it.’  As I said, I think the fact that the facilities here are so outstanding, they’re going to help our guys get prepared.  Playing well is about preparation.  Whether this comes at a good time or not, it’s what we make of it.  If we do our job and prepare properly and go out and play well and find a way to win the game, then it came at a great time.”

How did you react when you found out the Chargers were going to play in this game?

“My reaction was the same as our players: it was true excitement.  There’s experiences that you get to do and I think a lot of the experiences I’ve had being involved in preseason games overseas, I think of the games I’ve been in involving unusual circumstances, and those are the ones that really do standout.  Getting the opportunity to come over here and play, the excitement of the match up and everything involved, it’ll be exciting for everyone.”

 What type of advantage is it to take one of your road games and play it at a neutral site?

“I’m anxious to see how that plays out.  Obviously I’m sure New Orleans would rather be playing this game in their stadium.  But they’re an awfully talented football team.  They’re a very good football team.  I’m sure they’re going to make this into their home game.”

Its no European Vacation for Phillips

Its no European Vacation for Phillips

Linebacker Shaun Phillips

 

 

 

 

 What is your reaction to traveling to London and seeing your surroundings?

“It’s kind of exhausting, especially coming off a game like we had (in Buffalo ). The whole long flight and everything is a bit exhausting. We’re a mature team. We should be able to respond to whatever we have in front of us.”

 Is this trip a good escape?

“Games are going to be played every Sunday, almost every week anyway. It really didn’t matter if we were playing in London or back in the states. We have to prepare to play a good football team. We have to be mentally ready to play a good football team.”

Why couldn’t the defense get pressure on the quarterback (Trent Edwards)?

“Well, I haven’t seen the tape from this game yet. I can’t answer the question yet on why weren’t able to get pressure on the quarterback. Maybe they just did a great job blocking. I have no idea until I see it. I feel like we’ve been doing a good job throughout the weeks. A lot of times we were half a step away from a sack. Sometimes we get the sack. Sometimes we get the quarterback hit. It’s not like the pass rushing has gone bad. It’s not one particular thing. It’s the back end holding up as well as the front end.”

 

What are you looking forward to the most to see while in London ?

“I would definitely say just playing the game. Playing in front of the London fans is going to be huge. You think of the soccer matches and how huge the soccer matches are, 80, 90 thousand fans screaming. We’re hoping to get that same impact that’s what I’m looking forward to the most.”

 

What are your thoughts on Wembley Stadium?

“I don’t know much about it. I haven’t done a lot of background on Wembley Stadium. I know how excited the guys out here get about soccer. English soccer is huge. We’re looking forward to that. We want to have all of the fans screaming and roaring and hopefully not fighting like we see on TV. We’re looking forward to this game.”

 

Do you have any plans to go into the City?

“Maybe I’ll do a little sight seeing tomorrow. Today I’m going to let my body catch up and get adjusted to the time change and the long flight. Rest my body a little bit.”

 

What are your thoughts on going against Drew (Brees)?

“I’m excited because I never got a chance to hit Drew. We played on the same college team and I always use to joke around by saying ‘I’m going to get a hit on you one day’. This is going to be the first time that I get an opportunity to get a chance to hit him. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance and if I do he’ll definitely know about it.”

 

What do you think about what’s he’s done in New Orleans ?

“I expected it. I’ve seen Drew since he was in college. I knew what type of player he was. Once I got to the pros and have the opportunity to be on the same team with him…he’s just a great quarterback. He’s going to continue to do that. I only expect good things and success out of Drew.”

 

Are you happy Drew’s had success?

“Definitely, like I said, I expected it. I see the type of work he puts in and the type of leadership, dedication that he has to the game of football. I expected it from him. It’s not a surprise to me at all.”

 

Is this your first trip to London ?

“No, I’ve gotten a few chances to be here before.” 

 

Are you excited to see anything in particular?

“Probably, the Queen’s palace. I didn’t get a chance to see that. I was out here for Wimbledon and got to see a lot of great players play. That was the big thing I did the last time I came out here last summer.”

 

 

LT looks to be the man with Bush out

LT looks to be the man with Bush out

Running Back LaDainian Tomlinson

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think of the Pennyhill Hotel?

“I think it’s great.  They really have set it up for us and obviously everything around here is put together well.  The practice fields, weight room, locker room, the meals.  Where we’re staying there’s a great spa right there where we can get treatment, so everything looked nice and we’re excited to be here.”

 

You came out this summer to promote this game.  What’s been the difference from what you saw during your first trip?

“I stayed kind of more in London .  This is kind of out a little bit.  We’re kind of to ourselves right now and have a chance to bond as a team.  I think that’s a bit different.  I think once it gets closer to the game when we’re able to go back in town and see the atmosphere of the people of London, I think it will kind of be the same atmosphere I got when I was here earlier.”

 

What did you do during your summer trip?

“I just did media things and promoted the game, got the people excited about us coming over here and playing.”

 

What was the sense you got from people here about their interest in the game?

“I thought they were very excited about us being here.  They were really interested in American football.  I think that’s evident in how many tickets have been sold.  I think they’re pretty excited.  I’m pretty sure they want to see a good game.  That would help.”

 

Were your teammates asking you what to expect once they arrived?

“There were a couple of guys asking what it was like.  One of my guys said, ‘Are there any big guys in London like us or are we going to stand out?’  I thought to myself, ‘I didn’t see too many big guys so you might stand out a little bit.’  Of course he was a lineman, so.”

 

Is there an added importance for you to perform because you are serving as an ambassador for the NFL?

“I think it’s important to have a good showing and to really give the fans something to talk about, a reason to want the NFL to come back and have more games here.  I think that’s important.  Obviously we’re trying to get our game more exposure in the world wide sense.  I think it is important for us to have a good showing.”

 

How do you feel about seeing Drew Brees on the other side?

“I’m excited.  Obviously I’m not excited about competing against him because he’s a heck of a competitor and a (heck of a) quarterback.  That’ll be kind of different but at the same time I think it’ll be fun being out there on the same field with him again but this time hoping that he throws some interceptions.”

 

When you guys were drafted on the same day, did you think you and Drew would spend your whole careers together?

“Of course you think that because that’s the time you’re dealing with now.  You never think about someone leaving as a free agent or what have you.  You just think it’s going to be forever.”

 

Are you happy to see the success he’s had?

“Absolutely.  To me he never ceases to amaze me to be honest with you, all the passing yards he has and touchdowns.  I see in the offseason how hard he works because we workout together.  It doesn’t amaze me the success that he’s having now.”

 

What do you think of Wembley Stadium as a venue for an NFL game?

“I really like it.  When I came here earlier I was just kind of taking in the atmosphere and obviously it was empty at that time, but just wondering what it would be like with people in the stands.  I thought it was a great stadium, really built well and the grass seemed really good.  From what I understand they’ve really been taking care of the grass and making sure that it’s up to somewhat better than last year.  I’m excited.  I really am.  I’m excited to get there and see the atmosphere.  I think it’s going to be great.”

 

What kind of atmosphere do you expect?

“I expect it to be loud and just everybody having a good time.  The only thing for me, I’m not sure who they’re going to cheer for.  It’s like, which team are they going to go for.  I think that will be the interesting thing to see.  I think they’re going to just want to see good football.  They’ll cheer for both teams.  Whoever scores they’ll cheer because really they just want to see a good game.”

 

Aren’t you used to a crowd that acts one way on offense and another when you’re on defense?

“I think that will be kind of different.  When you’re playing at home, obviously on offense you get to have some peace and quiet.  Then you hear it when our defense is out there.  You kind of get used to that.  Then on the road, it’s opposite.  They’re loud when we’re out there.  I think it will be a good mix of just having the atmosphere of just screaming and yelling the whole time.  I think it will be fun.”

 

When you were here this summer, did you have some anonymity or were people still recognizing you and stopping you?

“Actually I was pretty good in terms of people noticing me.  Obviously I had a few people, but I can walk down the street and I kind of forgot what that felt like.  I was happy to do that, just walk down the street and nobody say anything to me.  I kind of enjoyed that.”

 

Sunday’s game is a night game here.  Do you enjoy playing at night more?

“It’s a great time for us.  Again, it brings out that kid in you.  In high school playing at night a lot and even in college.  It just brings back that feeling that you had in high school or college playing under the lights.  We always felt like that was special.  Even in the National Football League, you really feel like playing in the atmosphere that’s under the lights and the crowd and two teams at night, it just really gets you going.  If you can’t get ready for a night game then you don’t need to be playing football.”

 

Now that you’re here being 3-4, is this a good time in the season for the trip?

“I think it is.  It is a good escape for us.  Obviously losing yesterday, a lot of guys are really down about that loss.  I think it really gives us time to take a deep breath, time to get away from the national media in the States and just have some time to ourselves and really just get close and bond a little bit.  I honestly think that’s why the Giants were successful last year.  They were kind of going through the same struggles.  They came here and it kind of changed their season.  We’re hoping for the same kind of luck.  Hopefully London brings us that.”

 

You don’t think it was a coincidence that the Giants won the Super Bowl after coming to London ?

“No I don’t.”

 

Just 72 rushing yards against Buffalo .  What’s your reaction to that?

“We’ve got to have more opportunities.  I think that’s obvious.  When you don’t get opportunities, I think we talked about this earlier, you don’t get in a rhythm of running the football.  It becomes tough on you to try to do anything if you don’t get a chance to get in a rhythm.  Obviously for me, 14 attempts, that’s not enough.  At the same time, we only had 48 plays.  We’ve got to have more plays and hopefully we start to get more plays.”

Quarterback Philip Rivers

On Surroundings:

“It’s awesome. It’s a beautiful place and very nice. Probably as nice as any place we’ve ever stayed in. We’re looking forward to having a good week. The set-up here, the weight room, the locker room, it’s very accommodating. Hopefully we can zero in and get ready for the game, and certainly also enjoy being here.”

 

On the practice field at PennyHill Park Hotel reminding you of a high school field:

“Yes, it does. It’s really nice. The weather, it’s cool. It will have a little bit of a high school or college-like feel…kind of a backyard feel to it in the whole set up. It’ll be fun. It will be less of distraction maybe than we anticipated, and more of a boost. Change it up a little bit. The transition has been about as smooth as it can be, getting over here today. Obviously a long night, but it’s been good. I already feel like we’re pretty much settled in.”

 

On playing with Drew Brees on the other sideline:

“It’ll be fun. We’re not playing one another (directly), but certainly having been on the same team and obviously he meant a great deal to the Chargers when he was here. I know he’ll be looking forward to the game. It’ll be fun. As far as the game is concerned, (you have) two teams that really need a win. It’ll be as much that has been made of the trip over here and the week’s festivities, and all that kind of stuff. When it comes down to the game, it’s a big one for both of us.”

 

On how giving of his time he’ll be for the NFL’s taste:

“Our game and the preparation comes first. It’s the only game, once a year and we’re that team, so certainly there are some things that come along with it; responsibilities. We’ll manage those. The biggest thing I am going to do individually is try to get in that same routine as we do back there (home). The surroundings will be different, where you watch the tape and stuff like that will be different but I’ll treat is just the same as I would any Monday and Tuesday and then go from there.”

 

On if coming to London makes it easier to put the Buffalo game behind you:

“You have to in this league, especially as we’ve seen this year. We’ve had to do this a couple times, put a tough loss behind us and move on, and get on to the next one. It’s allowed us to move on. You have so many different things you have to worry about and get adjusted to, you’ve already moved on to the next week. But certainly we’ll get in here and watch this tape (and) it’ll all come right back to us. It’ll settle in how we played and how we can correct it and get better. The taste of that loss isn’t gone by any means. It was a big game that we lost yesterday, and we know that, but we’re going to have to rebound. We’ve done a good job of rebounding every week. We just have to find a way to get over the hump of trading wins and losses, and hopefully make a little run here.”

 

On handling distractions while in London :

“It certainly can be. We’ll have to manage it. Those are things you don’t get an opportunity to do or see some things that are out here. I know for me, and I’ll bet a lot of the guys, we’ve never been out of the country. Those things are fine. Go have fun, and enjoy it. Soak some of those things in. As long as it doesn’t creep in or get in the way of what we’re trying to get done, which is win a game. You certainly can enjoy those things this afternoon and Tuesday when we’re off, and still get in the preparation we need to get in to go win the game on Sunday.”

 

On his first thought when he knew the Chargers were coming to London :

“You really tie the two together, Buffalo and then New Orleans , just because of the trip. You knew you weren’t coming home. It wasn’t a get-on-a-plane-to-San-Diego-and-go-London. I don’t know. It (Rivers’ feelings) was mixed. Certainly you realize what can come with it is a lot of…I don’t want to say a hassle because that’s not the (right) word. But it certainly can be strenuous on the schedule and the time and our bodies, but at the same time it’s exciting. It’s something new. There’s only one (international) game every year, and being that game against the Saints is a good match-up. Mostly positive (thoughts). The way the NFL structured it is outstanding with the bye week following it so we can recover from the trip next week. We have to zero in though and get to .500 at the halfway point, which is not where we wanted to be but it leaves us at a spot where we still have a chance.”

 

On what he anticipates from London natives when he and his teammates are out on the town:

“I think it’ll be a lot of fun. You kind of don’t know. You don’t know how much they pay attention or care. But certainly I imagine it’s a treat for them here too. Something different. From what I gather, I don’t know exactly the capacity of the stadium, but they say it’s just about full, and people are excited. It’ll be fun. Thus far the hospitality has been great. It seems like a very polite, nice town. The airport and how all that ran was so smooth. I know it’s tough when there are 100 or so people coming through there like that. To get us all in and out of there smoothly…it was a smooth process.”

 

On his relationship with Saints’ Quarterback Drew Brees when he was with the Chargers:

“It was good. It was really good. We had a handful of golf matches off the field, but as far as the quarterback room and how everything flowed, it was good. I tried o help as much as I could but stay out of the way at the same time. When a guy has his routine as a starter, you don’t want to bother him but certainly you want to help if you see something. I thought it worked really well. We pushed one another hard. We both handled it well. We both respected one another and knew we were both just here battling to be the guy. It’s worked out for both of us. I think a lot of Drew, and obviously what he’s done down there in New Orleans has been outstanding.”

 

On what Drew Brees taught him:

“Yeah. The one thing he did was the routine approach he took. After a big Monday Night win or Sunday Night win like we had in New England , he was doing the same thing on Monday or Tuesday. If we get beat, like we lost those first two tough ones, he was doing the same thing. That was key because you realize it’s a long year, you’re going to lose some games, you’re going to play not as good as you want to in some games, but you come back in there on Tuesday and you’re doing the same routine Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. That’s the only way to go when you’re talking about 20-plus weeks. That was the one thing, although it’s not the same routine, we all have our different ways of doing it, is find that routine and what works and stick with it all year long.”

 

On if he expects a high scoring game:

“You never know. I think you prepare every week for it to be a defensive battle and try to win 10-7, and certainly with these two offenses, it could. We have faith in our defense, so hopefully not. But we’re ready every week, offensively, to score as many points as we need to to win. We’ve done that so far three times and haven’t done it four times. So certainly this is a big game for us to go out there and play well.”

 

On the coincidence of the Giants winning the Super Bowl after playing in London last year:

“I don’t think you can put too much stock into that. We would love to have it happen again. Come here and win and hopefully win a bigger one later. No, I don’t think there is any (correlation). It’s fun. We’re excited to be here and play. The match-up is fun. It’s a team you don’t play very often. The preparation from that standpoint, you have to zero in on them. It’ll be a fun week and hopefully it ends on a high note on Sunday.”

 

On how frustrating it might be to have so much talent but the record not reflecting it:

“It’s hard to say it’s frustrating because we still feel the guys we have in there, even banged up, and the guys that are healthy, that we can go in there and score points, and go out there an win games. I think that’s the frustrating part. We walk off the field and go, ‘how is this happening?’ That’s every year. Every team deals with injuries and different things. We’re dealing with it off the bat. There are other teams that are too. Hopefully we can get it going and get healthy as this season goes along and be in a position to hopefully be playing in January.”

 

On the running game not being as good as expected:

“You keep working. I don’t know if there is one element of the running game to point to. You just keep working and keep grinding. Just keep going. I don’t think there is any magic answer I can give you, other than you just keep grinding it out. There will be a time when it will all click and go, and hopefully that’s going to be soon. We do a lot of good things. You watch the tape and there are so many good things on there. You look up and there’s 14 points. The turnovers hurt us yesterday. At the same time, it hurts you in the amount of plays. I think we had 49 plays. When you have 70 plays you think about how many different things you could have done. If you’re controlling the football and not turning it over. It all goes hand-in-hand. We just have to play better in all three phases.”

Drew Brees could eclipse Marino's single season record

Drew Brees could eclipse Marino

Just an observation or maybe a prophecy? I believe that Drew Brees the New Orleans Saints gunslinger CAN beat Dan Marino, the former Miami Dolphins quarterback’s sing season passing yardage record.

In just six games Drew Brees has aired it out for an incredible 1,993 yards.

That is an average of 332 yards a game, which extrapolated over a 16 game regular season would equate to 5,314 yards.

Dan Marino’s phenomenal 5,084 yards in 1984, only his second season in the league, is a record that has held firm for almost a quarter of a decade.

Back then Marino led his team to a 14-2 record and an appearance in Superbowl XIX (an eventual loss to a Joe Montana led 49ers team) by passing to the Marx Brothers (wideouts Mark Duper and Mark Clayton) veteran Nat Moore and the likes of Tony Nathan and Dan Johnson (te).

In that season Marino averaged 317 yards passing a game, and his season included 7 300+ yard passing games and 3 400+ yards passing games. In fact the Fins lowest passing output was 183 yards in a win against bitter division rivals the New York Jets.

Brees has had his fair share of bad luck regarding his supporting cast in 2008 with injuries to stud wideout Marques Colston, veteran wideout David Patten, and tattoo’d tight end Jeremy Shockey.

Brees has got the deep threat covered with Devery Henderson, who has an insane 32.1 yards a catch, he also has an impressive support wr stepping up in a big way in the shape of Lance Moore.

It is the catching skills of the 2008 Saints running backs that is what is really helping Brees to look like a mastermind. Look at the evidence – 59 catches between them in 6 games – that’s almost 10 running back catches a game;
2008 Saints RB catches
• Reggie Bush – 41 catches – 361 yards
• Pierre Thomas – 7 catches – 48 yards
• Mike Karnery – 6 catches – 10 yards
• Deuce McAllister – 3 catches – 17 yards
• Aaron Stecker – 2 catches – 18 yards

I think Brees has the surrounding talent to pass for 5,200 yards in 2008 and break Marino’s record.

We in the UK have the pleasure and the honour of watching Breestake on the San Diego Chargers (the team that drafted Brees from Purdue in 2001).

Teams that come and play in London at Wembley tend to struggle to adapt to the cold weather and the rather neutral fan base, but we could be in for something pretty special as Breesgoes after the rather poorly performing Chargers pass defense.

Lets hope for everyone’s sake that the game features more that just two touchdowns (as was the case when the Giants beat the Dolphins in 2007 at Wembley).

We could be witnessing in London one chapter (chapter 8 of 16) of the book that crowns Drew Brees the single season highest passing yards champion.

Wouldn’t that be something swell to tell the grandchildren, and if it does happen, it could be a record to stay for another 25 seasons.

I think he can do it – do you think Brees can break Marino’s record ?…….

Have the New Orleans Saints handed over a brown envelope to the NFL marketing people in London? There are TWO teams coming to London after all.

Have the New Orleans Saints handed over a brown envelope to the NFL marketing people in London? There are TWO teams coming to London after all.

Hooray my tickets arrived this morning for the San Diego Chargers v New Orleans Saints game at Wembley Stadium, now just two weeks away.

have to admit the tickets for the 2008 NFL International Game are a vast improvement on the 2007 ones as the four game tickets I secured have a picture of Saints quarterback Drew Brees on them, a sweet embossed gold headline text and a faded background that looks neat.

I do wonder if other people get tickets with a Chargers player on them ? If not it seems a bit unfair to just have one team represented on the tickets.

The taligate tickets are also pretty cool – but again there is a Cajun feel, with a Saints logo on the ticket and some authentic New Orleans jazz musicians in a faded black and white photo background.

I do think the design is a Lambeau Leap above last years effort but if I am a San Diego Charger I am not exactly delighted.

It takes two teams to tango and I do like the retro Chargers uniform with the white helmets and powder blue shirts, it does seem that NFL marketing officials are not fans of the Chargers kit or brand.

One final comment for all those NFL marketing people – included in with my game tickets and tailgate tickets was a promotional flier for the purchase of NFL merchandise.

Thankfully it had BOTH the Saints (Marques Coltson wideout) and Chargers (Chris Chambers wideout) represented.

There was a problem though as the image of Chambers is reversed – so his shirt number and chargers name read RIGHT to LEFT.

It’s only one game a year guys – get it right !

Anyone else have any ticket observations ?