By Dave Thomas
When you go up against a team with a 1-6 record, odds are you should come away with a victory.
That being said, the San Diego Chargers are hoping their cross-country visit to Cleveland does not leave the with an early Trick-or-Treat surprise. After two tough losses recently, the Bolts are hoping playing a team with only one win proves beneficial in San Diego’s bigger scheme of things.
Not having met the Browns since 2009, the Chargers come into Northern Ohio with much to prove and little room for error.
After accounting for six turnovers on his own in a loss to Denver a week ago Monday, quarterback Philip Rivers knows that most eyes will be focused on him this Sunday, especially if the game is close.
Whether or not Rivers and head coach Norv Turner have a full stable of Chargers to go to battle with remains a question mark.
While the bye week hopefully served to clear the team’s heads mentally after two back-to-back second half collapses, there were also a number of players who needed the time off to heal some physical wounds.
As practice concluded this week, the Chargers could not say for sure if wide receiver/kick returner Eddie Royal (hamstring) and linebacker Jonas Mouton (hip) could go on Sunday. Both did not practice at week’s end.
Meantime, center Nick Hardwick (abdomen), offensive tackle Jared Gaither (groin), defensive end Vaughn Martin (neck) and cornerback Shareece Wright (foot) were deemed probable for Sunday’s contest.
In looking at the players who are either questionable or probable, the Chargers could most use Hardwick, Gaither and Martin in the lineup come Sunday. Hardwick brings his experience and stability at the center position, Gaither with his size alone can be a factor in giving Rivers more time to throw, and Martin can be yet one more defender to pressure Cleveland rookie QB Brandon Weeden.
Wright, who injured his foot in the season-opener at Oakland, had hoped to be back and playing by now, but his timetable to getting back was delayed. While Weeden isn’t Peyton Manning or Drew Brees, having another healthy defender in the secondary this Sunday certainly would not hurt.
Lastly, the Chargers reported that wide receiver Vincent Brown (broken ankle in pre-season game versus Dallas) is making progress in his recovery, but could still be out until late November or longer.
According to Turner, Brown continues to rehab the injury, and is “making good progress.” Turner believes that the team will know more about Brown’s return to the field over the next few weeks.
With Malcom Floyd playing well through six games, plus the signing this week of Danario Alexander, the Chargers can likely get by for now without Brown, though improved play from Robert Meachem, acquired from New Orleans in the off-season, would certainly make things easier on Rivers.
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Dave Thomas is a freelance writer covering all things Chargers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.