If you thought a bye week was the cure for all ills, you thought wrong. But you can’t blame the San Diego Chargers for hoping.
Coach Norv Turner and Co. were riding a wave of giddy momentum through the first four weeks of the season — winning three times and establishing an early lead in the AFC West — but they’ll be trying to right the collective ship this week when they head to northeast Ohio to face the Cleveland Browns
The Chargers were the first team to exercise the new Designated-to-Return rule when they placed WR Vincent Brown on the Injured-Reserve list in Week 1. Brown suffered a broken ankle against the Cowboys in the second preseason game on August 18. He is now eligible to return to practice, but has not completely healed and may miss at least another four weeks.
The Chargers staggered to their bye week after two straight losses in which they were outscored 52-7 in third and fourth quarters. … And then things got bad.
The San Diego Chargers (3-3) practiced in pads Thursday in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Browns (1-6). The Browns feature 16 rookies on their active roster, many of whom play major roles on offense.
The Browns’ explosive rookie class includes QB Brandon Weeden, WR Josh Gordon and RB Trent Richardson. Other rookies who contribute on offense are RT Mitchell Schwartz, WR Travis Benjamin and WR Josh Cooper.
On Thursday, the sale of the Cleveland Browns franchise from Randy Lerner to Jimmy Haslam III closed, meaning that Sunday’s game against the visiting San Diego Chargers will be the first “official” game of the Haslam Era. It will also be the first home game for Haslam as majority owner and newly appointed CEO Joe Banner, assuming he has returned to town in time for the game. Thursday was supposed to be Banner’s first day on the job in Berea but reports surfaced that he was staying in Boston to tend to his father, who has fallen ill. There’s no telling, as of this post, whether Banner will be in attendance for the game on Sunday, but obviously the health of his father comes first and my thoughts and prayers are with him during this time.
One five-word phrase is how Larry English and rookie Melvin Ingram each summed up Thursday his role in the Chargers’ outside linebacker rotation. The former first-round picks have seen their lowest involvement of the year come the past two games.
Both players have suffered rib injuries this season. Richardson’s may limit or sideline the Browns’ rookie running back on Sunday against the Chargers.
Gates, nearly all recovered from the cartilage tear he sustained on Sept. 10, sounded almost envious Thursday, recalling the resilience of his body as a 23-year-old rookie.
SAN DIEGO—A jab here. A helmet rip there. If there was ever any doubt Antonio Gates still has some fight left in him, the Chargers’ tight end removed it during the first half of his team’s most recent game.
After a week of marinating in some of the worst losses in franchise history, the team punched the clock instead of another wall.
But only after absorbing haymakers from all sides, and isn’t there a rule about piling on in the NFL?