After bolting from Dolphins, Chambers gets to know Rivers

SAN DIEGO -- Chris Chambers spent time getting to know Philip Rivers on Wednesday during his first practice with the San Diego Chargers.

That's certainly nothing new for Chambers, the wide receiver who was obtained Tuesday in a trade with the winless Miami Dolphins.

"I have a lot of experience with quarterbacks coming in and out," Chambers said. "I've had maybe 10 or 11 quarterbacks the last six, seven years, so I know how to talk to the guys. I know how to get comfortable with them at a fast pace because I've been having to do that for a long time, so I know what I have to do."

Except for getting a feel for the way Rivers throws the ball, Chambers is already pretty well versed with what's going on. Save for a nuance here or there, the Chargers use many of the plays, routes and formations the Dolphins use.

"I could pretty much just step right into the huddle and play a game," said Chambers, who also spent plenty of time with Hall of Famer James Lofton, the Chargers' wide receivers coach. "I'm game-ready."

He won't have to do that quite yet. The Chargers (3-3) have their bye Sunday, so Chambers will make his San Diego debut the following weekend at home against the Houston Texans.

Chambers played for four head coaches and six offensive coordinators during his six-plus seasons in Miami, and had 10 quarterbacks start with him.

Chambers hopes that instability -- along with all the losing -- is behind him.

"I felt like I haven't really been able to maximize my ability," he said. "I'm in the prime of my career right now, so it's good to be able to get with a team and hopefully stick around and build some continuity and see how good I really can be."

Chambers, a Pro Bowler in 2005, joins a team that had 11 Pro Bowlers and five All-Pros last year. His contract runs through 2009.

"These guys want to win. It feels good to be out here around a winning tradition right now," he said.

While the Dolphins are struggling under first-year coach Cam Cameron -- who was San Diego's offensive coordinator the last five seasons -- the Chargers have won two straight to right their early season wrongs and pull into a tie atop the AFC West with Kansas City.

"I hated to see him go," Miami defensive end Jason Taylor said. "But he won three games overnight by getting traded, and he goes to a team that has a chance."

One of those six offensive coordinators Chambers had at Miami, Norv Turner, is San Diego's head coach.

"He's a big-play receiver, an experienced receiver," Turner said. "This was a good move for us. I don't think it will take he and Philip long to get on the same page."

Chambers has 31 receptions for 415 yards and no touchdowns this season.

He'll be another target for Rivers, along with All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates, who's caught 43 of Rivers' 116 completions, for 547 yards and three touchdowns. Reigning league MVP LaDainian Tomlinson has 25 catches.

"I think once we get out to the field we'll figure that out," Chambers said. "It's going to feel weird the first game, I know that."

Gates thinks there will be plenty of balls to go around.

"I really think that it's a blessing to have a guy that's a proven guy in this league," Gates said. "I had a chance to play with him in the Pro Bowl one year. He's a spectacular playmaker. That makes it more interesting."

One other Dolphins-related number that Chambers would like to forget is this: He's gone 14 games without a touchdown catch.

"Last year was last year," he said. "This year, we weren't scoring as much, we didn't score as much in the red zone. We weren't really going down field, except pretty much the last game. Some stuff's out of my control, but it can be in my control if I can go out there and break tackles and try to score from 40, 50 yards out.

"I'm usually a guy that gets into the end zone very often, so I'm looking forward to picking that up."

Chambers ranks fifth in Dolphins history with 405 receptions, good for 5,688 yards and 43 touchdowns.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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