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SAN DIEGO – Sometimes the best way to keep a powerful boxer from landing a knee-buckling shot is to keep the jabs flowing and make him keep his gloves up by his ears.
The Chargers hope to do that this week against New England’s potent offense, which gained a franchise-record 622 yards Monday at Miami.
San Diego managed to overcome a 17-7 deficit Week 1 against Minnesota but prefer not to mitigate the challenge they’ll face in Foxborough, Mass., where the Patriots are 9-0 in home openers at Gillette Stadium.
“One thing we can’t do is have the three-and-outs that we had last week,” Philip Rivers said. “Offensively, more than anything, early we need to get first downs. Ultimately we’ve got to score points, but we need to get first downs and get in a rhythm. This week we can’t afford to stumble around for a quarter or two before we get going.
“We have a lot of confidence in our defense but we can’t afford to put our defense out there with this offense series after series without letting them rest and play fresh.”
Randy McMichael, who started his career with the Miami Dolphins, played New England 10 times from 2002-06. The tight end called the Patriots defense “sound” and said don’t expect New England to make mistakes.
“One thing about them, because I’ve played against them so many times, you have to execute. There’s not going to be a lot of them, so when we have the opportunity to make big plays, we’ve got to make them,” McMichael said.
“We have to control the ball because they’re just as explosive on offense as we are, so we have to do a good job executing and keeping the ball away from Tom Brady and those guys.”
The Chargers’ offense will place a premium on converting third downs this week, which is predicated on positive gains on first and second downs. The Bolts also must take care of the football.
The score early in the game also could dictate strategy, and San Diego wants to be able to play to its strengths.
“We’ll just try to make our adjustments as fast as possible on the run,” Vincent Jackson said. “You scout teams, but it’s early in the year so we don’t have that much film on them. You never know what a team’s going to do, so we try to get that worked out in the first drive or two.
“Sometimes it takes a little longer. But really it’s about communication. We’re coming off, talking to our position coaches on the side, talking to Norv and making the adjustments on the run.”
WR UPDATE: Patrick Crayton and Vincent Brown each practiced two consecutive days Wednesday and Thursday.
Turner compared Crayton’s situation to Larry English one week ago. English was inactive against the Vikings despite being healthy, mostly because he’d missed so much practice time. Turner wasn’t ready to declare whether Crayton will play Sunday.
“I continue to evaluate it,” Turner said. “We can dress 46. I’d like him to be one of those 46. We’ll just see how it goes.”
Brown missed the majority of training camp with a hamstring injury and returned to the field two days ago. He’s mostly getting work during the individual period early in practice and participating in the scout team offense.
“Obviously there are a number of guys in front of (Brown) that are playing at a high level, so it’s a process,” Turner said. Read