Chargers Notebook: Roster case study

It was a day for several players to prove themselves one final time before the final roster is set. Shane Olivea and Drew Brees reported they would be fine. Cleo Lemon showed why the Chargers burned up a roster spot for him during the 2004 season and others stated their case.

"We now have the roster reduction which will take place over the next 48 hours," head coach Marty Schottenheimer confirmed. "It will be the most difficult cutdown since I have been here."

Cleo Lemon had a dream game on Sunday, leading the Chargers to a come from behind victory. He directed two scoring drives in the fourth quarter with some athletic play and a beautiful touch from his arm.

Lemon made a perfect throw on the run to tight end Landon Trusty – who is making his own case to stick with the team after grabbing seven receptions for 72 yards – from 30 yards out for a touchdown to tie the game at 21-21.

"I was just trying to make a play," Lemon said of his touchdown throw to Trusty.

Lemon came back to hit Ruvell Martin in the back of the end zone for a touchdown, driving the ball 46 yards in 52 seconds during the final minute of the game, giving the Chargers a 2-2 record in the preseason.

"We had the two-minute drill working," Lemon said. "We made a couple of plays and Ray Perkins had a great return. It was fun out there to come back from a deficit and win."

"Cleo is the man of the hour," Brees said.

"He's performed very well over the past couple of weeks," Schottenheimer added.

On to Dallas: Drew Brees did not look necessarily crisp in his only series of the day. He missed Darren Sproles by a wide margin and made a poor throw to Reche Caldwell in the end zone that was almost intercepted.

Brees rebounded by tossing a bullet to Kassim Osgood for a touchdown.

"I feel good," he said. "I feel confident. We are getting ready for playing for keeps."

A catch is a catch: Everyone that was consulted agreed that Terrence Kiel did not intercept the pass he was credited with picking in the first quarter. Everyone who watched it believed it skipped off the ground.

But even with the review, the play was upheld.

"It happened so fast I could not tell," Kiel said of it possibly hitting the ground.

Not so happy: Schottenheimer wasn't pleased with several areas of the team.

The defense wasn't crisp and hasn't found its niche through the preseason. Turnovers are something he will not tolerate. And after posting 13 penalties on the board last week the team committed nine more on Thursday.

"We turned the ball over three times and ended up minus two," Schottenheimer said. "These penalties – as much time as we spend on taking care of penalties we are not doing a good job.

"There are things that can be corrected…that can be resolved."

Stating his case: Ray Perkins stated his case again. He rushed for 76 yards on 12 carries and has continually turned heads throughout camp. He is one guy that may end up on another roster before the season ends.

"I am trying to hold on," Perkins said.

The starting five: It is clear this team needs Shane Olivea in the starting lineup and the depth at tackle isn't as good as one might expect. Wesley Britt and Leander Jordan have not separated themselves from the pack. Jordan has shown promise at times, playing both sides of the line on Thursday, and Britt still has a lot to prove.

Critical of Cory Lekkerkerker in the past, he was better at the tackle position on Thursday. After writing that note as the game was in process, Lekkerkerker was beat on the next play which caused Philip Rivers to rush his throw and have it intercepted. He was beat again in the fourth quarter by Corey Smith who sacked Lemon and caused him to fumble, giving San Fran the ball.

It is too bad they haven't played Scott Mruczkowski out on the end of the line. He has been exceptional to date on the interior of the line. Jordan looks like the primary backup right now.

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