SAN DIEGO — While the Chargers wore white, it looked as though the Tennessee Titans were waving it Sunday in their defeat to the Chargers 38-10.
Admitting that he’s more truthful with the team than he is with the press, head coach Norv Turner was expressed caution to the team’s 2-0 start, admitting after the win that the Chargers are “a work in progress.”
The team, which is already benefitting from its depth more than any time all of last season, is seeing new faces contributing in the first two wins of the season.
Tight end Dante Rosario, who was filling in for Antonio Gates with a rib injury, caught three touchdowns during the game, the most ever in his 6-year career.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do to continue getting better,” Turner said. “But the key right now with this football team is that we get to dress 46 guys, and we’re hoping Charlie (Whitehurst) doesn’t play and after that the other 45 guys all get a chance to contribute and they all play a role,” he added.
With the 2012 season only two weeks old the offense, which won out over the Raiders on the revamped leg of kicker Nate Kaeding to open the season in Oakland, appears close to coming into its own this year.
Backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst attributes that to the continuity throughout the years with Philip Rivers and Turner at the helm.
“I think we were definitely good enough a week ago, we were good enough today,” Whitehurst said after the game. “I think we’re improved today, and I think that’s kind of the name of the game is to get better every week, and hopefully we’re in position late in the year to do something, and that’s when you want to be at your best,” he said.
The Chargers’ offense opened their first series with 12 plays going 71 yards and a touchdown pass from Rivers to Rosario.
Over the span of the Norv Turner head coach-era, since 2007 the Chargers have averaged a ranking of 9.6 in total offense against the remaining NFL teams (they’re currently ranked 20th this season.)
As for if the team’s offense is gelling: “We’re growing a lot,” Turner said. “We’ve made good strides today,” he added. “I think it’s something that depends on who you’re playing, and then it depends on this league,” Turner said. “Every week there’s a challenge. There’s good teams and there’s good players. After the game, sometimes it seems easy, but I’ve never been in an easy one,” he said.
Eric Weddle’s interception in the first quarter allowed the offense to move down field and score what was the second of five touchdowns on the day. “You don’t ever want to give a team hope,” he said of preventing the Titans from mounting any comeback.
The key to preventing that big play is just being sound, he explained. “Understanding formationally, what they like to do,” he said. “The quickest way to lose in this league is giving deep plays and giving up touchdowns up the field, so we want to eliminate those, make them work for it and…make them drive the ball on us,” Weddle added.
The Chargers next face the Atlanta Falcons Sunday at home. The organization still needs to sell about 12,000 tickets by Thursday to avoid a TV blackout.