Chargers excited about Chicago challenge

The Chargers will face their second opponent and first real challenge of the preseason on Friday when they travel to take to Chicago to take on the Bears in a nationally televised contest. The Bears won 11 games last season and captured the NFC North title behind the league's second-ranked defense.

That defense will provide an excellent litmus test for first-year starter Philip Rivers, who made things look all to easy against the Packers. He completed 15-of-21 passes against the Pack, good for 169 yards and a touchdown, and looks forward to the challenge presented by the Bears high-pressure defense.

"It's always good in the preseason to go against good teams," Rivers said. "Every team is good in this league, but it's nice to go against teams that were in the playoffs. Obviously, Chicago had one of the top defenses in the league, so it's exciting."

And although the Bears offense won't be labeled explosive anytime soon, they do boast a very physical offensive line that will challenge the Chargers' defensive front seven. According to Steve Foley, the Chargers are unconcerned.

"Our thing is, it's all about us," Foley said. "We feel as long as we do what we're capable of doing, we'll have a great chance of having some success."

So while it is still only preseason, the Chargers vow to play with the same intensity they hope to carry into the regular season.

"For me, the only way I can treat it is the same way as if it were a regular season game," said right tackle Shane Olivea. "Obviously, it doesn't count towards the record, but it's a good meter for us for where we're at right now."

The reasons for the Chargers' regular-season-like approach to the preseason are two-fold. Firstly, playing at anything less than full speed is an easy way to get injured.

"If you go out there and ease up, that's how people get hurt," attested Quentin Jammer. "So you have to approach it like you would approach a regular season game."

The second reason the team will go all-out is because they are intent on carrying some momentum with them into the regular season.

"You want to go into the season winning," said Foley. "You don't want to have a sour, bitter taste in your mouth, so every win is important, whether it's preseason or the first game of the season.

"Like Herm (Edwards) says: you play to win the game."

The Chargers do have other issues to worry about besides just winning – finding a new kick returner and developing rookies Antonio Cromartie and Marcus McNeill, for example – but if they can leave the Windy City with a win, they'll leave with all they came for.


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