Luckily, This Is Preseason

So The San Diego Chargers lost their first preseason game. So what. While some may overact to the uninspiring play of the Chargers, there are many points to take into consideration...

First of all, let‚s remember what this was. The first preseason game with a young team sitting out many of its key players: No LaDainian Tomlinson, no Lorenzo Neal, no David Boston, no Tim Dwight, no Stephen Alexander, and no Marcellus Wiley.

Imagine the Cowboys of the 90's with out Emmitt Smith, Daryl "Moose" Johnston, Michael Irvin, Alvin Harper, Jay Novacheck, and Charles Haley. While not all of the Charger players mentioned may be of the same caliber as that of the dynasty Cowboys, I think you get the point.

This is a young Charger football team. Marty knows this and I think he likes it that way. Sitting some of your key players not only prevents injury, but allows more reps to the young guys that really need them. We already know what players like LT and Tim Dwight can do in a game. We don't know how a Nick Maddox or a Terry Charles will perform in a game...

Let's take a quick look at the game.

The stats indicate an evenly matched contest:

Stat Category San DiegoSeattle
Total Net Yards: 242 280
Plays 58 57
Avg 4.2 4.9
Rush yards net: 116 132
Carries 19 35
Avg 6.1 3.8
Pass yards net: 126 148
comp./att. 19-38 14-20
INT 1 1
time of poss: 26:28 33:32
All of them except the ones that really matter:
TURNOVERS 3 1
FINAL SCORE 7 20


Luckily this is PREseason and those aren't the most import stats.

With so many young players on the roster, and so many veterans out of the lineup, one could expect a few sloppy moments out there. The sloppy moments came in abundance as the bolts committed 10 penalties and 3 turnovers.

The Seattle Seahawks take the opening drive and efficiently pick away at the Chargers 1st team defense for a touchdown. I can just imagine what Charger fans initial reactions were. Memories of last season suddenly appear as if it were yesterday.

Luckily this is preseason.

Most don't mention that after the initial touchdown, the Seahawks 1st team offense remained in the game to face the Chargers 2nd defense and failed to score.

What happened after that is pretty much pointless because once the 1st teams are out, the focus is mainly on evaluating the talent on the field.

If you ask if the Chargers 1st team defense played well against the Seahawks, the answer would be no. In the Chargers defense, no pun intended, it was only one drive. A drive where the defense allowed no big plays and had no major communication breakdowns. A drive where the defense simply played too soft in coverage allowing underneath passes to be completed.

I seem to remember a game last season where the New England Patriots took the opening drive against the Chargers for a touchdown in a similar fashion. Quick passes completed underneath coverage. The Chargers adjusted, tightened up the coverage, shut them down, and won the game.

No need to push that always nearby Charger fan panic button just yet...Luckily this is preseason.

There is still no excuse for the teams 10 penalties or 3 turnovers, but that will improve. Marty Schottenheimer will not stand for those types of miscues.

Let‚s take this for what it really was, the 1st preseason game of the year. Nothing more. Nothing less. Luckily, we can get back to what preseason is all about...

What rookies looked good? Who's the diamond in the rough? How did all those young DBs they drafted play?

A few players made a good impression and there were even some surprises. The first that comes to mind is rookie LB LeMarcus McDonald. He made his presence known on the opening kickoff, or make that two opening kickoffs. Mike Scifres (impressive in his own right) booms his first kickoff 4 yards into the end zone, McDonald comes busting through the wedge to smack the ball carrier at the 10 yard line. A late flag was thrown for offsides and we get to do it all over again. McDonald was ready once again as he also made a nice tackle on the re-kick. LeMarcus would go on to make other special teams plays as well as play solid defense from his linebacker position.

LB-Jude Waddy. That‚s right Jude Waddy. Maybe you never heard of him or don't know much about him. Waddy was all over the place as a LB, leading the team in tackles with 7, while displaying excellent coverage skills. Keep an eye on this guy as consistency may earn him a spot.

DEs- Otis Leverette and Omari Hand. A quick look at the DE position shows shallow depth behind the three man rotation of Ray Lee Johnson, Marcellus Wiley, and Adrian Dingle. Don't tell that to the back-ups. Both were solid in this game. Leverette displays good size and quickness while Hand was stellar against the run.

CBs -Sammy Davis and Drayton Florence. The two rose to the occasion. Sammy provided great coverage and even had a great pick in the end zone to prove he belongs. Drayton showed flashes as a kick returner while also supplying solid coverage and hitting ability.

WR- Grant Mattos had a key grab to put the bolts in scoring position, then followed up catching the Chargers only touchdown. With performances like that and the injuries at WR, Mattos could play himself onto the team or at the very least the practice squad.

Others: 1st team offensive line, S-Hanik Milligan (a definite special team performer), RB-Nick Maddox (Terrell Fletcher type?).

Regardless of how the team played in its 1st preseason game one thing is for certain for players. A date with Marty Schottenheimer at Camp Carson on Monday.

On Monday, the Chargers went through a short practice. Punt teams saw plenty of work as that units play in the game wasn't where it needs to be. The only way to get better is to practice so it's a good thing the coaches made this one of the focal points on the day.

Two minute drills were also worked on. The 1st team offense drove up the field rather easily, but failed to score as time was up and the second unit came in. One interesting note with the second team was the return of WR Eric Parker who looks like he didn't miss a beat. The second team offense had a little tougher go of it as they struggled to get the ball up the field. They would also fail to score.

Conditioning drills were next, as the coaches had the players running in separate units. Maybe a little punishment for the less than stellar performance against the Seahawks.

Getting their first taste of battle together this past Saturday seemed to have drawn the players closer.

Players were at ease as they walk between sprints, talking shop or even joking with one another. Tim Dwight even did his conditioning barefoot.

This seems a team unfazed by an inconsistent performance. A team that realizes, luckily this is preseason.

Will Mortensen can be reached at will.powered@verizon.net

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