SAN DIEGO (AP) — The bye week earned by the San Diego Chargers is perfect for players such as Shawne Merriman.
“If they want me to go out and work, then I will,” the star outside linebacker said. “If it’s one of those things where they want to rest me, I’ll do that, too.”
The AFC West champion Chargers (13-3) eased into their bye week Wednesday by holding out starters Merriman (plantar fasciitis) and wide receiver Vincent Jackson (Achilles’ tendon). They also ran a handful of plays favored by each of the three teams they could face in the divisional round on Jan. 17.
Also sitting out was backup receiver Legedu Naanee (foot). Merriman, Jackson and Naanee also sat out Sunday’s regular-season finale, a 23-20 victory over Washington, the Chargers’ 11th straight win.
“I feel all right,” Merriman said. “I’m just resting. It’s a big part of why I went the last few games, why I pressed the point to get to the position where we are now so I can hopefully get that little rest.”
Two other players who sat out Sunday’s game, safety Eric Weddle and fullback Jacob Hester, did practice.
Coach Norv Turner said he thinks Merriman, Jackson and Naanee will be back next week.
With the Chargers earning the AFC’s No. 2 seed behind Indianapolis, they’ll go through what Turner called a “working” bye week, with three days of practice and the weekend off.
San Diego’s last loss, 38-28 defeat at Pittsburgh on Oct. 4, followed their regular-season bye week.
“I think our guys understand we’re going to get them some rest, but this is about doing some extra work in terms of preparation,” Turner said.
Turner said the Chargers cut back on the number of plays they ran, but were focused and began preparing for possible opponents New England, Cincinnati and the New York Jets.
“We started introducing different things we’re going to have to handle,” he said. “If the guys realize that we use this time properly, we can get a jump start. And there’s some things we have to be able to defend, there’s some things we have to be able to attack, that we can have a better understanding of.”