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Turner Solving Chargers' Puzzle

Team starting to take shape

By Michael Gehlken
|  Monday, Aug 30, 2010  |  Updated 9:27 PM PDT
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Every puzzle piece has its place.

After the third preseason game, Norv Turner thinks he's closer to solving his football team.

The Chargers head coach said he walked away from last Friday's 36-21 loss to the Saints with a better understanding of which roles certain players could handle and which roles some, unfortunately, couldn't.

On a third-down play in the first quarter, tight end Kris Wilson dropped a pass on a corner route that would have extended the drive and, at worst, put the Chargers in field-goal range.

Instead, the team punted, and the Saints were celebrating their first touchdown of the game less than five minutes later.

That one play won't close the book on Wilson's usage in that third-down package, but more of the same might.

“I always say if a guy does something real well, we're going to give him a chance to do it,” Turner said. “If a guy struggles with a certain route or making a play at a certain position or certain angle, then we have to be careful when we use him on that.

“...We're giving Kris a chance to make those plays by our personnel groupings. We'll find out. In a lot of cases, if that's what a guy does best, we'll let him do it. If not, we'll find someone else to do it.”

That goes for the defense as well.

As the Chargers look to trim their 10-man defensive line to seven or eight, how players fit into rotations is part of the evaluation process as to who stays and who goes.

Against teams that assert the run, the Chargers will employ three of their bigger, run-stopping linemen in early downs. In passing downs, the rotation will turn to its quicker, pass-rushing linemen.

“In training camp and preseason, you want to get to where you understand what your guys do best,” Turner said. “I think we're getting a good understanding of that.”

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