Chargers Doing Well Under Jones


The San Diego Chargers seemed to respond well to the first day of the June Jones era.

Jones, who had coached quarterbacks for the Chargers, was elevated Tuesday to interim head coach after Kevin Gilbride was fired.

Jones practiced the team Wednesday, and although players were careful not to criticize Gilbride, many said the change might be positive.

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  • "It's a new working environment," said rookie quarterback Ryan Leaf. "I think people had a little more energy today."

    "The change was kind of a spark. It felt good out there. We were real focused."

    Safety Rodney Harrison agreed there was a different feel.

    "Guys worked hard, and the intensity was there," he said.

    Jones, also a former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, said the team practiced well.

    "It's a tough thing because everybody here has strong feelings about what we went through," he said.

    Jones said he did not sleep Tuesday night after getting the job. He said he was glad his first practice was over so the team could move ahead and "stay together."

    San Diego (2-4) hosts Philadelphia (1-5) Sunday.

    The Chargers fired Gilbride just six games into his second season because the team was headed in the wrong direction, said general manager Bobby Beathard.

    "It was getting to the point that maybe they were losing confidence," he said. "I think you can go too far and lose it and get beyond a point where you can bring it back."

    Gilbride compiled a record of 6-16 and had lost 12 of his last 14 games, including the final eight last season when San Diego finished 4-12.

    Leaf, the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft who has thrown only one touchdown pass and 12 interceptions, said the players have to find their focus.

    "It's a pretty sobering experience all the way around," he said. "What you have to do is pick it back up and think of it as a positive thing."

    Jones made some changes in an offense that has scored just five touchdowns in six games.

    "We tweaked (the plays) a little bit or are just doing them a different way," he said. "We're trying to do, in the passing game, some of those base things that we think we can execute."

    The San Diego offense, which has failed to score more than one touchdown in any game, ranks 24th overall in the league and 28th in passing.

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