|L.T. gets ready for sideline duty when Seahawks visit Chargers|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 11 August 2007 10:08|
SAN DIEGO (AP) -New Chargers coach Norv Turner knows the drill when it comes to LaDainian Tomlinson and exhibition games.|
``If you want to see L.T., you better come early and watch warmups,'' Turner said in previewing the extent of his superstar running back's participation in Sunday night's home game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Although he's made a cameo appearance as recently as 2005 against St. Louis - he scored on his only run, a 55-yarder - Tomlinson almost always sits out meaningless August games to avoid the risk of injury.
``I just get to eat a lot of sunflower seeds,'' the reigning NFL MVP said.
Turner will continue to follow the philosophy used by his predecessor, Marty Schottenheimer, who preferred to keep Tomlinson fresh for the regular season.
``If something works, it would be silly for me to come in here and change it,'' said Turner, who replaced the fired Schottenheimer in February.
Last year it worked to the tune of a monster season, when Tomlinson set NFL records with 31 touchdowns, including 28 rushing, and 186 points. He also won his first rushing title with 1,815 yards.
Tomlinson does get something out of exhibitions.
``You know, I really enjoy it because I think I take that time to really prepare myself mentally,'' Tomlinson said. ``When I'm looking at the game, I kind of see what's going on. I picture myself in the game, making cuts and stuff, what I would have done in different situations. I start to get the feeling like it's time to play again.''
Since a lot of offseason workouts are nothing more than glorified touch football, Tomlinson enjoys watching young players once the exhibition games start.
Tomlinson remembers when former Chargers receiver Reche Caldwell was in his first camp.
``When Reche first came in he was looking pretty, running fast, and we were like, 'Damn, this guy is going to be real good for us,' `` Tomlinson said. ``The first preseason game he caught a pass and he turned it up and he got hit and he fumbled and he came back over and said, 'Whew, them guys are hitting out there.' I said, 'What do you think they do? You thought you'd be running around in shorts all the time? These guys hit in this league!' ``
The guy the Chargers will be watching Sunday night is first-round draft pick Craig Davis, a wide receiver out of LSU.
``It's big to me,'' Turner said. ``He's a speed guy. I certainly hope he plays fast. That's easy to say, but guys get all excited, they get winded early.''
With Eric Parker (toe surgery) and Vincent Jackson (lower leg) missing from a practice at Qualcomm Stadium last Saturday, Davis was with the first team and made an impressive leaping touchdown catch over safety Marlon McCree and linebacker Matt Wilhelm during a two-minute drill.
``I would expect him to do everything we've done, particularly last Saturday,'' Turner said. ``That was the most competitive thing we've probably done, and he looked like one of the fastest guys on the field.''
Turner expects his starters will be in for 15 to 18 plays before making way for the second stringers, who will get 30 to 35 plays.
For the Seahawks, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, running back Shaun Alexander and Pro Bowl left tackle Walter Jones will start and play about two series.
``We are not going to change much from what we have done in the past,'' coach Mike Holmgren said. ``Those guys will play. Then we will look at the guys we really have a lot of questions about. They still need to play in games to evaluate them properly.''
Hasselbeck said after an intrasquad scrimmage last Saturday that doctors want him strictly limited from playing in preseason games. He had surgery in January to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. ``Hopefully we can push the envelope on that a little bit,'' he said.
Alexander, the 2005 league MVP, may still have a cracked bone in his foot, but he's practiced without limitation and has been cleared to play. Alexander says he is in the best shape in years.
Jones practiced in full pads on Wednesday morning for the first time in six days because of a sore right shoulder. He had surgery on it after last season.
``He's going to be one of our guys we are going to need to play all season and play well,'' Holmgren said. `` So I'm probably being a little bit nice to him.''
The intrigue of Seahawks camp is who is going to start at wide receiver opposite Deion Branch, now that Darrell Jackson is gone to the 49ers. Holmgren said D.J. Hackett had the inside track when camp opened, then backtracked as Nate Burleson has looked good.
Holmgren keeps hinting that top draft choice Josh Wilson is pushing Kelly Jennings as starting right cornerback.
In March, Chargers left guard Kris Dielman spurned a richer offer from Seattle to re-sign with San Diego for about $39 million.
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