SAN DIEGO — Beginning the second quarter of the season with a record of 3-2 and in first place in the AFC West, Chargers head coach Norv Turner said he continues to approach the season as 16 one-game seasons as he prepares for Denver on Monday night before entering their bye-week.
The Chargers are coming off of a 31-24 loss to the New Orleans Saints, a game which saw the Chargers lead for much of the game, but only to be undone by a Melvin Ingram penalty against Saints quarterback Drew Brees late in the third quarter, a number of penalties in the fourth quarter and an injured Jared Gaither.
Turner said he didn’t see Ingram’s penalty as a momentum swing for the Saints. “It’s easy to talk and say there’s a momentum swing and we we’re flat after that. They hit two big plays after that. They hit a screen against a blitz that we had run awfully effectively, and I don’t see that as a momentum swing, I see it as them dialing up, coming up with a right call,” he said.
Ingram has had a similar penalty called against him during the first game of the season against the Raiders, but Turner said it’s something they’re going to fix through coaching and technique. “There’s no question that we addressed it after the Raider game and it’s something that we’re going to have to deal with,” he added.
As for Gaither playing the final few plays of the game injured (Sunday Night Football announcer Chris Collinsworth pointed it out and predicted a Philip Rivers sack during the broadcast due to the injury) Turner said he would have liked for Gaither to come out in that situation. Turner said at Monday’s press conference that Gaither strained and not tore his groin and thought he would be able to have a chance to practice this week and even play against the Broncos.
“The player’s got to let you know,” Turner said, regarding injuries.
Gaither’s injury wasn’t brought to Turner’s attention from any of his coaches.
The game, Turner said, is what Chargers’ games are going to be like. “We’re going to have the same game Monday night against Denver. We’re playing a blitzing defense; we’re playing an explosive offense. It’s going to be one of those games you just got to play, and you got to play four quarters and you got to respond to whatever happens and you’ve got to be the guy who makes the play last.”
The team will begin preparation against the 2-3 Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos in earnest on Thursday.
“I love the way our team is preparing; I love the way our team is aggressively playing,” Turner said. “We’re playing extremely physical; we’re playing extremely fast. We’ve got to take the next step and overcome the adversity that happens in a game and be able to finish a game,” Turner said.
Less than 3,000 tickets remain for the Monday night game. There are still more than 12,000 tickets remaining for the Nov.1 game against the Chiefs.