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Don't take 'em lightly


Martyball looks pretty good now.

The conservative brand of football the San Diego Chargers played when Marty Schottenheimer was their coach was widely criticized for having been boring and outdated. The Chargers decided Schottenheimer wasn't good enough for them and they fired him after he produced the best record in franchise history last season.

So, what part of Martyball doesn't look good today? How about that 14-2 last year? The league MVP LaDainian Tomlinson won? Eleven Pro-Bowlers? Shawne Merriman's 17 sacks? Phillips Rivers' 92.0 passer rating?

I haven't seen a quote from Schottenheimer at any time this season. I guess he doesn't have to say anything because the Chargers' performance this season says it all.

The same Chargers Schottenheimer coached to the best record in the league are now 5-4. Tomlinson, who scored 31 touchdowns last season, is at nine currently. Rivers' passer rating is down 15 points. As a team, the Chargers have the league's 27th-ranked defense and 25th-ranked offense.

Bring back run the ball and stop the run, huh? Do you think Chargers fans would settle for a little Martyball now?

The moral to the story is this: These Chargers have the same talent that produced the league's most dominant regular-season performance a year ago. Their stats may not look like much this year, but we know from what they did last season that they are physically capable of playing at the highest level. The Jaguars should not, under any circumstance, take them lightly.

Here are 10 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the Chargers.

  1. Stop Tomlinson—He's not having a good year, but he's still their number one threat on offense.
  1. Pressure Rivers—He's feeling the heat and it's causing him to throw wildly.
  1. Pound it—Adrian Peterson torched the Chargers for 296 yards rushing. The Jaguars need for Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew to have big days.
  1. Ease him back—This will be David Garrard's first action in nearly a month. It would be to his advantage if he's allowed to play a secondary role.
  1. Kick it out of bounds—Or kick it real high because Darren Sproles can make you pay.
  1. Stay away from Cromartie—The young cornerback is on an interceptions roll. Try somebody else.
  1. Understand the circumstances—This is an AFC game against a playoff contender. This one counts extra.
  1. Enjoy the surroundings—The Jaguars are back home for the first time since Oct. 22, and that should provide a major energy boost.
  1. Involve the wide receivers—Have they been on vacation? Jaguars wide receivers have caught 65 passes combined, which would rank them in third place among AFC individual leaders in receptions. Come on, guys.
  1. Be physical—That almost always wins.
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