Chargers vs. Rams preview

San Diego Chargers starting quarterback Drew Brees is slated to see the field for 15-18 plays when the Rams come to town for the Bolts first game at Qualcomm since losing in the playoffs to the Jets.

It is similar to what Rams quarterback Marc Bulger believes he will play.

"I think I will play a couple more series than I did last week," Bulger said.

And this matchup headlines the game - at least the first quarter to quarter and a half.

They are two of the NFL's finest young quarterbacks in the league based on their accomplishments from a year ago.

Brees and Bulger both finished in the top 10 in passer rating in 2004 and took their teams to the playoffs.

Brees figures to give way to Philip Rivers who will get two quarters of action as the Chargers take a long, hard look at their possible future.

The team's No. 1 draft choice in 2004 delivered an impressive night last Friday and had one of his better weeks of practice, according to head coach Marty Schottenheimer. He completed 12 of 19 attempts for 97 yards and no interceptions against Green Bay.

For the Rams, the man who will replace Marshall Faulk as the No. 1 back will look to build upon his performance of last week. Steven Jackson, St. Louis' No. 1 selection last year, plowed for 47 yards on seven carries in the first quarter last week against Chicago behind an offensive line made up of only one projected starter.

"We all know that they have terrific skill people," Schottenheimer said of the Rams. "The young runner (Jackson) is ideal for what they are doing. They pick away at you in the passing game and hand him the ball and he runs over four or five people. He is a powerful runner."

Speaking of runners, LaDainian Tomlinson will see his first action of the preseason. Expect him to be on the field for a series or two at most, depending on how many plays the Bolts can rattle off.

      "If he's behind their offensive line, then that's going to make them a better offense."

"Obviously it's going to be good for us to get to go against him, because they're going to have their (starters) in there," Rams linebacker Dexter Coakley said of Tomlinson's first action of the preseason. "If he's behind their offensive line, then that's going to make them a better offense. We're not just trying to stop him. We're trying to get ourselves together as a whole. We're trying to click on all cylinders as a unit because if we get all 11 hats to the ball and everybody's swirling around making plays - if LaDainian is back there or not we're going to execute our game plan."

With just over a week to go before the first roster cutdowns, there will be a lot of rookies positioning themselves for a spot on the back end of the team. That hunger makes the preseason worth watching from week to week.

The team is practicing in shells so that one big hit can only be delivered in game. Sunday's game is part of the ongoing process of evaluation but by no means the only.

"(The game) is important but equally important is what they do in practice," Schottenheimer explained of the evaluation process. "Because in practice, while it is not game tempo, you find out if a guy has the ability to concentrate and take information and the things that he learned and apply them in competitive speed. The way they play when the lights are on is more important. But if he is showing the ability to piece it together and apply it out in practice that serves him well."

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