Three things to watch as Chargers play Cardinals in second preseason game

Keep an eye on Melvin Gordon and Travis Benjamin.

The Chargers play the Cardinals tonight in Preseason Game Two at Qualcomm Stadium, after having practiced against them twice this week -- once at Qualcomm and once at Chargers Park.

Here are three things to watch:


Benjamin missed the first preseason game in Tennessee due to injury, but was back for joint practices this week against the Cardinals and looked sharp. In the practice at Qualcomm, quarterback Philip Rivers said his "favorite play" was a comeback route he threw to Benjamin.

"Not that it was a great throw or anything like that, but it was just one of those that I had to throw early, he got out of [the break] with the timing and made the catch," Rivers said after that practice. "Those are the trust-building plays I talk a lot about, that you need to make with a guy that you haven't thrown a ton of those to."

Look for more of those trust-building plays tonight.


In Preseason Game One, running back Melvin Gordon rushed three times for 12 yards (average 4.0 yards per carry) and found the end zone on a 44-yard catch and run in the first series of the game. Against the Cardinals, he should gain more carries as he looks to build confidence after a finicky freshman year and knee surgery during the offseason.


The Chargers allowed 288 rushing yards against the Titans, which could make one think the run defense woes of last season might still be hanging around. Though it was mostly back-ups on the field -- and sometimes San Diego back-ups vs. Tennessee starters -- it's still a question mark as to how much better this defense has gotten in defending the ground game after being ranked 27th in the NFL last season. The Cardinals rushed for 172 yards against the Raiders last week, so this should be a good test for this Chargers defense. 


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