One last go in the preseason

The final preseason game of the year is often one that is skipped by many players, as coaches ensure the health of the starting unit heading into the season. But that does not mean it lacks at least some significance to the Chargers.

Drew Brees expects to play a quarter. His goal is to keep up the rhythm as he heads towards the season opener.

"I am trying to be sharp going into that first game," said the quarterback. "Just try to go out there and manage the game, throw completions, make good decisions, score a lot of points and gain that confidence that makes you feel good going into that first game."

His strategy heading into the final preseason game is simply to start so he can get the juices flowing and be familiar with the game tempo as he plans for Dallas.

His one concern, justifiably, is health of the starting unit – and himself. He pointed to quarterbacks getting injured in the preseason and was warm to shortening the preseason. After getting shellacked by Erasmus James in last week's game, that belief has some credence.

"There are some guys who would tell you the preseason is vital, especially young players," said Brees.

Which is why the rest of the starters will have a shortened stay on the field when San Francisco comes to Qualcomm Stadium on Thursday.

"The most forgotten game of the year is the last preseason game," said head coach Marty Schottenheimer.

But he has his own agenda. After cutting down his roster to 65, he must further trim the tree to 45 plus an eight-man practice squad.

"We have a number of guys we are anxious to give playing time," Schottenheimer added. "It will give them a chance to step forward and show us the skills.

"We don't want to overlook anything."

Many of the undrafted players will get a chance to showcase their talents in this final tuneup for the regular season. And the list includes some players who have been drafted this year or those that are recovering from injuries and need to justify themselves in the spotlight.

Schottenheimer wants to bring along the best 45 players on his active roster and is willing to cut those that have not made the grade, as he sees it.

San Francisco provides that last ditch effort to lock down a roster spot.

"They are going to get an opportunity to show the coaches they belong on the team," linebacker Donnie Edwards said.

The final roster cuts are due in no later than September 4, a week before they face-off with the Cowboys in the home opener.

With expectations running high, even the veterans are eager to see who will paddle out to the ship as it leaves the harbor.

"We are excited to see who is going to be able to help us come the season," cornerback Drayton Florence said. "Whoever can help us we are going to bring along because it is going to be a long trip this year."

For those that get cut, the trip will end this weekend. But for those that get a stay of execution, they will be true San Diego Chargers.


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