Chargers look for health, answers

There are several areas that need improvement but don't look for those goals to be accomplished on Thursday when the Chargers greet the Niners at Qualcomm.

The Chargers have not unveiled a sliver of game tape against their preseason rivals of the past 18 years and this is no longer 1994 when the two squared off in the Super Bowl.

The motto is staying healthy and evaluating the rest of the talent before the final cut – and no veiled reference to Pink Floyd here.

Several players will be on the Dark Side of the Moon for this one. Shawne Merriman will sit, although he reports that he is feeling much better and could play if needed, prompting head coach Marty Schottenheimer to retort, "I admire his optimism."

Others needing reps that will most certainly sit include receiver Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd.

Luis Castillo, however, will see the field.

"The only way you can prove your worth is to be on the field," said Castillo.

A win would be nice but it is not the top item on the agenda.

"The evaluation process takes precedence," Schottenheimer said.

Some of those players they would like to see include tight ends Landon Trusty and Duncan Reid. Odds are one stays for at least a week while Antonio Gates serves his suspension.

Ryon Bingham will get extended playing time on the inside to assure coaches that he is a valid choice as a backup to nose tackle Jamal Williams.

The second and third team offensive lines will be under the microscope as the team attempts to find a nice balance of depth. Draft picks Wes Sims and Wesley Britt will have to prove their worth with Sims looking like a practice squad player to date.

"We need to keep the guys who are going to become winning NFL offensive linemen," Schottenheimer said of his search for quality depth on the line.

One man who appears healthy but may not play is DeQuincy Scott. Schottenheimer said he may not play despite being healthy, lending some credence to the thought process that he will survive the final cuts and is not a bubble player.

Another player assured of receiving plenty of snaps is Darren Sproles. He will lead the return game and just missed breaking off a touchdown run last week.

"I fully expect we'll find a way to get him the ball, and not only in the kicking game," Schottenheimer added.

Some of those ways will not be unveiled until the season begins. They have run him up the middle on a number of occasions but will likely use his speed in smarter ways when the real thing comes to term.

SD Super Chargers Top Stories