Turner: Chargers' red-zone woes can be corrected - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Turner: Chargers' red-zone woes can be corrected

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San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner talks with quarterback Billy Volek. (AP Photo/Dave Martin) San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner talks with quarterback Billy Volek. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Paging Nate Kaeding ... paging Nate Kaeding.

Every time the San Diego Chargers get inside their opponent's 20-yard line, there's a good chance they'll see their kicker trot onto the field on fourth down - or even third down.

The Chargers have made 11 trips into their opponent's red zone the last two weeks, and scored only one touchdown.

It can't get much more glaring than that, although coach Norv Turner thinks the Chargers can fix the problem.

"Obviously we're moving the football, we're making big plays," Turner said Monday, a day after the Chargers beat the Miami Dolphins 23-13.

Turner narrowed it down even more.

"Somebody made a comment to me it's inside the 20 that you're having struggles. We really aren't. It's inside the 10. We're getting the ball first-and-goal on the 10, the 9, the 8, the 7, and we're having a tough time getting it in.

"When you look at the tape, I think the problems we're having are correctable," the coach said. "I thought we had a chance a couple of times to throw a couple of touchdown passes. We just missed."

Turner said the problems are more communications related than physical.

"It's nice to win a game when you're down in there and you end up kicking field goals," he said.

The Chargers scored just one touchdown on six trips inside the red zone on Sunday, and that was quarterback Philip Rivers' 5-yard scramble up the middle late in the third quarter.

A week earlier, they were 0-for-5 in a 21-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Kaeding is getting a lot more work than the Chargers probably would like. He kicked three field goals against the Dolphins and four against the Ravens, including one on third-and-goal from the Baltimore 5 with 10 seconds to go before halftime, which drew the ire of the home fans.

The Chargers (2-1) play at Pittsburgh on Sunday night. The Steelers beat the Chargers twice last season in Pittsburgh, 11-10 in the regular season and 35-24 in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Turner said Rivers is OK after taking some hard shots against Miami.

"He came out of it pretty good. I think his body is sore but I don't think he has anything that I would describe as an issue," Turner said.

"I'm a little sore, but nothing newsworthy," Rivers said. "I'm in good shape."

Rivers threw for 303 yards a week after throwing for a career-best 436 yards.

Outside linebacker Shawne Merriman was forced out in the third quarter with a groin injury that first surfaced in the Ravens loss. He said it's from overcompensating during his recovery from knee surgery that sidelined him after the 2008 opener.

"I went out there and I didn't get the burst and stuff that I needed, the change of direction and stuff that I needed, so it was just best that I sat down," Merriman said Monday.

Merriman said he needs rehab and rest. He missed practice Wednesday and Thursday and could sit out some this week, as well.

"It's all right. It's still tight a little bit," Merriman said. "It's one of those things that's kind of expected coming back from what I had."

Said Turner: "My deal there is we have to be smart and realistic about it. I don't want this to become something chronic in terms of his groin, so we have to be smart and monitor it this week."

Turner also said LaDainian Tomlinson is making progress. He's missed two straight games with a sprained right ankle.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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