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Young players step up

Posted Sep 27, 2011

Injuries on defense tested San Diego’s depth Sunday, and several inexperienced Chargers made the most of their opportunities.

SAN DIEGO – One of the bright spots Head Coach Norv Turner found when he reviewed Sunday’s 20-17 win against the Chiefs was the number of contributions from young defensive players.

“There are some guys that really aren’t household names around here that have really stepped up and played for us in some situations where we needed them,” Turner said.

Vaughn Martin made his second NFL start in place of the injured Luis Castillo and made five tackles. Turner called Martin’s game “outstanding.”

Donald Butler also made his third NFL start his best so far according to Turner. Butler finished with a team-best eight tackles Sunday against Kansas City.

Rookie Marcus Gilchrist also was pressed into action when Quentin Jammer injured his hamstring and left Sunday’s game. Gilchrist made three tackles on Dexter McCluster on one third-quarter drive, each short of a first down.

“He went in for Jammer and was outstanding,” Turner said. “I mean, looked like a starting NFL corner. That was impressive to me.”

Turner also said Darrell Stuckey (three special teams tackles) and Andrew Gachkar (two special teams tackles) are on their way to becoming core special teams players.

THIN AT D-LINE: Jacques Cesaire left the game Sunday with a strained knee and joins Castillo (tibia) and Corey Liuget (ankle) as injuries mount along the defensive line.

“I would not expect him back until after the bye,” Turner said.

Liuget may or may not return to practice Wednesday. Liuget’s health may determine whether the Chargers sign another defensive lineman, Turner said.

Jammer (hamstring) also left Sunday’s game and will be evaluated week-to-week.

Turner also re-iterated Philip Rivers is not injured, just a little sore following a big hit he absorbed against New England. Rivers’ soreness has not affected his play, Turner said.

“There’s nothing wrong with him. People have done a good job of covering us at different times. I know there were a couple times that I wish he would’ve thrown the ball away,” Turner said. “We’ve got to eliminate the interceptions and we’re going to.”

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