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SAN DIEGO – Players streamed out of Chargers Park on Wednesday afternoon, eager for a rare weekend of watching football and relaxing with family.
The new collective bargaining agreement calls for teams to give players four days off during the bye week, and the Chargers will not practice Thursday through Sunday, allowing some sore muscles to recover and some brains to back off the RPMs and get refreshed.
“It’s real important for us to get away, get rested and get ready,” Marcus McNeill said. “We’ve got a long haul after the bye so we’ve just got to get prepared for it. There’s no better way than the bye to kind of get healed up and get revved up and ready to go.”
The team did practice twice this week, splitting time between preparing for the New York Jets, granting more reps for younger players and taking the opportunity to rest a few banged-up players.
There were many smiles and a relaxed feel inside locker room as players were able to take a brief respite from the intensity of preparing for ever-important games day in and day out.
“It’s cool,” Malcom Floyd said. “But the thing is, you’ve still got to stay on top of your game, keep your cardio up and just stay on top of maintenance on your body. Just be smart about everything on and off the field.”
TAKING STOCK: Philip Rivers has stressed how important it is to win games in the NFL, which doesn’t give out style points or base its postseason participants on journalistic opinion.
That’s why, other than a loss at New England, the Chargers are thrilled with the first five games of their season.
“We know we have to improve. We know we’re not where we need to be in order to accomplish the goals we set at the beginning of the year,” Rivers said. “But if we can improve while winning, then we can give ourselves a chance as we head toward the second half of the season.”
REMEMBERING: Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky recalls recruiting Takeo Spikes to San Francisco before the 2008 season.
“He didn’t have as big of a neck,” Manusky laughed. “He was an exciting guy. I remember having dinner up there in San Francisco. We were kind of courting him. He’s a true blue football guy and that’s what I loved about him the most. He really does his homework across the board and he knows football.”
Spikes leads the Chargers with 43 tackles in his first season with the team after signing a three-year contract July 30. Manusky, a former player, also can relate to why Spikes (in his 14th NFL season) was interested in following him to San Diego this offseason.
“We have a little comfort level with him coming down here in terms of verbiage and knowledge of the game,” Manusky said. “He didn’t want to spend hours upon hours studying a new playbook and learning the terminology, which is sometimes harder for players.” Read