Chargers at Arizona

Saturday night is the first road game for the San Diego Chargers. They are primed to get away from the confines of training camp and the monotony of traveling to and from their hotel. They get to take to the air and a change of scenery when they meet the Arizona Cardinals. The hope is the offense and defense will also fly in its second showing.

Dennis Green recently laid praise on the Chargers young defensive backs. Perhaps it was due to his top three receivers being out with injuries.

"Our lack of receiving has slowed us down a little bit," Green admitted. "We don't have what we thought we'd have going into this game. We're just not a very good passing team right now."

Don't expect the Cardinals to abandon the pass. They are still evaluating their quarterback play and receivers on the fringe will get their chance.

"I don't know who their backups are, but most every guy in this league has some qualities that make him a pretty good player," Marty Schottenheimer said about who will replace the injured Cardinals players. "Whoever the Cardinals have out there, we'll do our best to play well against them."

And Green plans on playing his starters at least through part of the second quarter. It also means more opportunities for the Chargers defense to tee off and perhaps take a few more chances.

The defense passed its first test when they held Payton Manning and the Colts first team offense to two three and outs.

"They come with a lot of pressure and a lot of physical mentality," Green, a Del Mar native, said. "Indianapolis won the game but not with the first unit because they did not get a single first down."

The Chargers had their first game experience with the 3-4 and Wade Phillips had to expose some of it. With the defense being so new, it was a must to get some of the nuances and different looks into a game situation.

Expect the same this weekend. The formations may be vanilla looking but the defense will again come with full force as it looks to perfect its work as the season draws near. They can't worry about whether they are giving away the secrets to their defense at this juncture.

"They are a 3-4 and they like to bring people and that is good preparation for us and we'll make adjustments as needed," Arizona starting quarterback Josh McCown said.

They were also formidable against the run, allowing just 64 yards on the day.

The Chargers are running through some of their final viewings of the crop of youngsters they have, as well, in preparation for the first cut day.

"We are continuing to evaluate players and personnel," Schottenheimer said. "Take advantage of the opportunity preseason allows you."

The coach would not point to any one person and come Saturday the favorites will be obvious.

Look for the intensity to be picked up a notch with the pressure to perform magnified and the team on the road.

Lightning quicks:

-Drew Brees will again get the nod with Cleo Lemon his relief. Joe Germaine could finally get some game action but that is up for debate. Doug Flutie is out for Saturday.

En-lightning thoughts:

  • Is the end near?

  • Leon Johnson has not made an appearance in camp. His presence has become but a whisper at the end of the day when the injury report is tallied. With the praise being heaped on Wes Welker, Johnson is one game away from being released. One game – as in Welker having another solid effort.

  • Minority Fellowship

  • Cedric Calhoun (Alabama A&M); Shawn Gregory (Samford); Albert Lewis (NFLEL coaching intern-Frankfurt); Keith Wagner (Trinity Community) all have participated with the Chargers in their Minority Coaching Fellowship. The program, begun in 1987, annually provides NFL training-camp positions to minority coaches. Many current NFL coaches have participated in the program.

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