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What to Watch For: Chargers, Cardinals

Look for the starting defense to have more snaps, but don't look for Melvin Gordon.

The Chargers will play the Cardinals in Arizona Saturday night for the team's second preseason game. Here are a few things to keep an eye on:

OFFENSE

**Whether or not running back Melvin Gordon will play is a game-time decision, but I'd lean toward "not" for that one. Gordon reportedly has a minor ankle sprain, and although he practiced lightly on Thursday, it's doubtful the Chargers would want to risk anything in a preseason game. Yes, he needs the reps; no, he does not need a long-term injury. If this really is minor, he'll probably sit out the Arizona game and work quite a bit in the team's third preseason game in a week.

**The offensive line should look the same as the first game -- LT King Dunlap, LG Orlando Franklin, C Chris Watt, RG DJ Fluker, RT Joe Barksdale -- but there should be better cohesion and communication. The line was disappointed with some blown coverages in the two series they played against the Cowboys and have looked more in sync this last week in practice.

**The wide receiver group is a deep one. They can't all make the team. We know our locks -- Malcom Floyd, Keenan Allen, Stevie Johnson and Jacoby Jones -- but what about the bubble guys? Dontrelle Inman should have an edge, but Tyrell Williams, Austin Pettis and Javontee Herndon are looking strong in camp too. It's a good problem to have. One or two of those guys should start to stand out over the next few games.

DEFENSE

**The linebackers group has been more physical, more focused all camp. Guys like Manti Te'o and Melvin Ingram are starting to take responsibility of the defense and make it their own. Look for the starters to have more snaps against the Cardinals.

**Rookie outside linebacker Kyle Emanuel had a strong game against the Cowboys, and since, has been getting snaps in practice with the first unit. Look for him to have some snaps with the starters against Arizona.

**Jimmy Wilson and Jahleel Addae continue their battle for the starting strong safety position, though it appears it might be Wilson's job to lose.


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