CHARGER UPDATE : NOTEBOOK / T.J. SIMERS : Henning: Chargers Will Have a Tough Time With Thomas
The Chargers put the brakes on a sack-happy Derrick Thomas in an early-season meeting with the Chiefs, but Coach Dan Henning said it will be no easy task to duplicate.
“One-on-one rushing the passer, he is the best,” Henning said. “I put him above (Giant linebacker Lawrence) Taylor; I don’t think he’s as good an overall football player as Lawrence Taylor, but when that guy comes one-on-one I have yet to see anybody handle him.
“I don’t think it can be done. It’s like a wide receiver running a pass route against an offensive tackle. He has the quickness and change of direction of the running back in Detroit (Barry Sanders). You better be very careful when you’re dealing with this guy.”
Thomas leads the AFC with 13 1/2 sacks, and has 43 1/2 career sacks in 44 career NFL games.
“He makes plays all over the field,” Henning said. “Run at him; do something other than let him run around and make things happen.”
While Thomas continues to terrorize quarterbacks, Charger linebacker Leslie O’Neal has disappeared.
O’Neal had 26 sacks in the 32 games he played in 1989 and 1990, but in 13 games this season, he has compiled four sacks.
“I’m totally disappointed, but that’s life,” O’Neal said. “We haven’t won, and more than likely what they will say when this team has had good years defensively in the last six years, I’ve had great seasons. This year I didn’t, so I know I’ll end up getting the blame for not having a good season because I’m not getting the sacks.”
And why hasn’t O’Neal piled up more sacks?
“I’m not even going to comment on that,” he said. “I’m going to leave it alone.”
Linebacker Henry Rolling sprained his ankle again in practice Thursday and will be listed as “questionable.”
Wide receiver Anthony Miller is listed as “doubtful” with a torn quadriceps muscle, and will probably go on injured reserve to make room for wide receiver Yancey Thigpen, who has been on the team’s practice squad.