Turner breaks down the Chargers

March, 24, 2009
3/24/09
9:44
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

DANA POINT, Calif. -- San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner addressed the media at the NFL owners' meeting on Tuesday.

Here is a sampling of some of the highlights of his session:

On if the roles of running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles will change in 2009:

"I don't think so. Everyone wants to figure out what the plan is. You play it by ear. LT is our lead back. There are some games he's going to carry the ball almost exclusively. There are games Darren is going to be a great changeup. As we go through the season, I think Darren is going to get his touches."


On Tomlinson's 2008 season:

"He rushed for 1,100 yards and caught 50 balls. By most backs' standards, that's a heck of a year. People look and say that's not LT-like. We had some difficulty running the ball early. I think that will give him more opportunities.


On the health statius of star linebacker Shawne Merriman who missed 15 games in 2008 with a knee issue:

"Shawne is doing great. He's been outside running. He looks great."


On what the Chargers missed playing without Merriman:

"The best teams -- and when you play your best -- you make game-changing plays. You look at the best teams, they have a lot of guys who make game-changing plays. He's one of those guys. When you lose a guy like that ... Those sacks, the pressures, it's not the number, it's when they come.

On what the Chargers might do in the draft:

"We're going to take the best player. It could be a defensive back, linebacker, defensive end, offensive lineman. We have the 16th pick, and we should get an outstanding player there.


On the continued development of quarterback Philip Rivers:

"Philip loves the game and he wants to be the best. That combination of things is all you could ask for. He's the first guy back in. He's done a great job improving himself physically over the last couple years.
It's a combination of weight room and work he does in the offseason program with his movement. I think he's gotten a lot stronger with his arm. He studies the game. He's going to keep getting better."


On the expectations of new linebacker Kevin Burnett, who was signed as a free agent from Dallas:

"We love his athletic ability, love his coverage ability. He's been a productive player. We're obviously excited about his ability to help us in the pass side of it."


On who may replace defensive end Igor Olshansky at defensive end. Olshansky signed with Dallas as a free agent:

"We play a lot of guys on the defensive line. We have Jacques Cesaire and Ryon Bingham that will compete for that spot, and that's an area we will look for a young player."

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