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Old 11-02-2006, 10:55 AM
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joelbolt joelbolt is offline
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Default Polk gets his shot

Polk gets his shot

By Casey Pearce, Chargers.com

Wednesday at Chargers Park began with a heartfelt apology from Shawne Merriman and concluded with a productive day of practice in which a handful of linebackers began preparing for tweaked roles.

“I apologized (to my teammates) for being a distraction,” Merriman said as he addressed his team for the final time before he begins serving his four-game suspension. “What needs to be the main focus for them is the Cleveland Browns. I think they understand that.”

As Merriman departed, the Chargers turned to a theme that has been familiar throughout this season.

“I guess I’m the next man up,” said linebacker Carlos Polk, “We’ve all got a job to do. I’m ready.”

Polk, a six-year veteran and two-time winner of the team’s Special Teams Player of the Year award, is set to make his first-career start when the Chargers host the Cleveland Browns at Qualcomm Stadium Sunday.

“The next few weeks are very important for me,” Polk said. “I’m back on the field this year. I’m loving it. I’m happy to be out there with the guys running with the first team. Every week you have to prepare to start. This week I’m getting my chance to do that.”

After suffering season-ending injuries each of the last two seasons, Polk is enjoying a productive 2006. He continues to be a key contributor on special teams and has five tackles in the kicking game this season. Polk has seen more playing time on defense the last couple contests, particularly two weeks ago when linebacker Shaun Phillips went down against Kansas City.

“I think he’s done fine,” Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer said. “He’s a guy with terrific size and power. He’s a savvy veteran. He’s been in the system for a while, albeit he had the misfortune of missing a couple of years with injuries. He’s done a nice job.”

Entering the season, Schottenheimer pointed to the linebacker position as the team’s deepest group. While Polk will start, Schottenheimer expects several players to contribute. Akbar Gbaja-Biamila could see extended playing time, and Steven Cooper, who has played primarily inside during his career, could slide outside.

One concern Schottenheimer has is the affect the rotation could have on the kicking game. Cleveland’s Josh Cribb is averaging 27.7 yards per return on kickoffs, the third-best total in the NFL. Punt returner Dennis Northcutt ranks third in the league as well, averaging 12.4 yards per return.

“When you end up taking guys who are core special teamers and you have to insert them into the starting lineup to play every down for you,” Schottenheimer said, “all of a sudden the question becomes what kind of affect is it going to have from a fatigue standpoint on their ability to be involved in the kicking game. We’ll try to work our way through that. That’s an issue that’s seldom identified.”

There’s a chance that Phillips could return this week, but regardless of who is available, Schottenheimer believes in the group that he has.

”I would hope that we would be able to go out and play winning defensive football,” Schottenheimer said. “I expect that we will.”

Lending a hand

During Merriman’s suspension, he is not permitted to be present at the team’s facility. He said that he plans to work out at least twice a day. He’ll also travel to the Gulf Coast to work with the United Way.

“During the offseason I had a couple calls and a couple emails from some guys over in New Orleans,” Merriman said. “I wanted to go, but we had training camp, so I had to come over and report early. I’ll spend some time rebuilding some homes over there.”

During his press conference Wednesday, Merriman emphasized the fact that he wants to be known as a player with character.

“I’m not a cheater,” Merriman said. “I don’t believe in cheating the game. I have no reason to cheat the game. I’m about playing football and I’m a great football player. I’ll continue to go out and show that and prove that. Hopefully over time people will see that I’m a terrific football player and a terrific person; that I don’t condone cheating.”

Chargers players were vocally supportive of Merriman.

“I hope he rests up and is ready when he gets back,” running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. “We’re going to need him to get three sacks a game down the stretch.”

Four miss practice

Phillips (calf), defensive end Igor Olshansky (knee), safety Clinton Hart (hip) and safety Bhawoh Jue (knee) all watched Wednesday’s practice from the sideline. Jue and Hart are both listed as probable for Sunday’s game against the Browns, while Phillips and Olshansky are questionable.

“I know he’s very anxious to play,” Schottenheimer said of Phillips. “We’ll see how it goes later in the week. It frankly could go right down to game time.”

Olshansky is likely to be a game-time decision as well.

The Browns listed 10 players as questionable on their injury report including six starters. Among those listed were guard Joe Andruzzi (knee); tight end Kellen Winslow (knee); wide receiver Dennis Northcutt (ribs); cornerback Jereme Perry (ankle); cornerback Daven Holly (ilness); offensive tackle Ryan Tucker (illness); linebacker Willie McGinest (ankle); defensive end Orpheus Roye (hamstring); safety Justin Hamilton (ankle) and cornerback Leigh Bodden (ankle).

Power blue

The Chargers will don their “Power Blue” Throwback jerseys and celebrate alumni weekend Sunday when they host the Browns. A host of former Chargers players will be on hand this weekend as the team honors its rich history. The Bolts have won three of their last four games in the Throwback jerseys, including a 23-13 win over Pittsburgh earlier this season.

Tickets remain available

Approximately 1,000 tickets are still available for the Sunday’s game against the Browns. Tickets can be purchased at Qualcomm Stadium Gate C, www.Chargers.com, Ticketmaster outlets or by calling TicketMaster at 619-220-TIXS (8497). The game kicks off at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday.

The League’s long-standing policy requires all games not sold out 72 hours prior to kickoff to be blacked out in the local market. This includes all signals within a 75-mile radius of the stadium and those areas whose television signal reaches within that 75-mile zone. The league’s policy affects all telecasts, both cable and satellite.
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Last edited by joelbolt; 11-02-2006 at 11:30 AM..
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Old 11-02-2006, 11:40 AM
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They didnt really mention Harris and I thought he would get a nod after that one game where he was impactful but Polk and Cooper are better than adequate, I think starting Harris would be better so our ST squad isnt fatigued
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Old 11-02-2006, 02:44 PM
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Davidgtza2 Davidgtza2 is offline
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so is this guy Polk good or what?
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Old 11-02-2006, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidgtza2
so is this guy Polk good or what?
polk is the man! he may not be as physically gifted as merriman or phillips but he has tremendous heart.

what you get with carlos polk is a vocal leader and motivator and a guarantee that he will give 110% effort.
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Old 11-02-2006, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baphamet
polk is the man! he may not be as physically gifted as merriman or phillips but he has tremendous heart.

what you get with carlos polk is a vocal leader and motivator and a guarantee that he will give 110% effort.
Can't really complain about that, as long as he stays focused.
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Old 11-02-2006, 03:04 PM
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Jeez, hopefully Polk can make it through this game without being injured.


2005: Spent entire season on “Reserve-Injured” list while recovering from torn Achilles’ tendon.

2004: Inactive Week 1 with shoulder injury…returned to action Sept. 19 against New York Jets and had special teams tackle…placed on “Reserve-Injured” list Sept. 22 due to shoulder injury.

2003: Chargers Co-Special Teams Player of Year…tied for team lead with 16 special teams tackles…tackle for loss among two stops against Denver Sept. 14…season-high three special teams stops at Jacksonville Oct. 5…lone tackle for loss against Kansas City Nov. 30.

2002: Chargers Special Teams Player of Year…led squad with 13 stops on specialty units…recorded first-career safety after blocking Scott Player punt out of end zone at Arizona Sept. 22…was first-career blocked kick…inactive for San Francisco game Nov. 17 with ankle injury…season-high three special teams tackles at Buffalo Dec. 15.

2001: Limited to action in six games due to shoulder injury…placed on “Reserve-Injured” list Nov. 14.
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Old 11-02-2006, 03:07 PM
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well good for him, i didnt know he had been on the league 6 years
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Old 11-02-2006, 03:24 PM
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I was really high on him when the Chargers first drafted him 6 years ago, however he hasnt shown that much as a LB, IMO he is a little slow for the outside spot in the 3-4. He played alot during the KC and STL games, but he didnt show that much (IMO). He is a great special teams player, and a great team guy, but not someone you'll get excited about as your starter..
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Old 11-02-2006, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelbolt
The title of this thread made me double-take.

With all the stuff that's gone on with our LB corps this year, I thought we had lost another one.

Glad to see that's not the case.
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