Alright, third week of preseason games is this weekend – Saturday for our Chargers against the Arizona Cardinals. To me this is like the Superbowl of preseason games. The starters are normally getting more snaps this week than any other week before the regular season commences.
Fellow Rock The Bolt staff writer, Enrique Alvarado, wrote last week on whether Quarterback Philip Rivers “should play much” in the preseason. My first thought was to let him at it. Maybe he is a little rusty after a season cut short? Maybe he needs to get his timing down with some of his receivers? Especially those he did not play much with this past season.
Well, I got my answers in weeks one and two. Rivers is in mid-season form and looks ready to dominate the opposing team’s defense from the get-go. After my observation, I changed my stance and say we should protect him as much as possible for the regular season. Let Billy Volek get his repetitions in – even though it is going to happen. I could try and make the case that Volek needs to be sharp in case our boys are up by three or four touchdowns in some games.
Now on to what I expect to see this Saturday. This game should be the closest thing to what the Chargers will play like during their home opening game on September 11th against the Minnesota Vikings. I want to see Mike Tolbert get off to a better start than he did the past couple of games. He is going to be key to their running attack this year. Coach Norv Turner is all about the ‘one two punch” of Ryan Mathews and Tolbert.
Also, I will be paying attention to the right guard spot where there is competition for the starting role between Louis Vasquez and Tyrone Greene. I am certain they are both going to be working their tails off to prove themselves. Although they will both be on the roster, they will be rotating a bit throughout the season.
I am also looking for Chargers’ defense to stop the run better than last week. I do not want a repeat of when Felix Jones and Phillip Tanner ran all over us and both averaging over seven and a half yards a carry. THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE. This week’s match-up should be more in our favor with Arizona’s starting running backs Beanie Wells and Alphonso Smith set to play. With the AFC West stacked with runners like Jamaal Charles, Darren McFadden and Michael Bush; we can not afford to give up a lot of yards on the ground. Preseason or not.
Not sure about the rest of you, but I am excited to see first round draft pick Corey Liuget play again. Let us hope he maintains his high level of play from last week.
Getting a repeat of Darryl Gamble‘s performance in week one would be great, too. He would be a great competition for Larry English.
I am wondering if Donald Butler can hold down the middle of the field with former Niners Takeo “The Neck” Spikes. Other than that they looked pretty good against Dallas last week and I do not see Arizona to be as tough as Dallas.
This is also the perfect time to get some last look at most of the players because, if I am not mistaken cuts are coming. I look forward to another outstanding outing from our Bolts. Progress and continuity should be the name of the game for many of the young players out there trying to make the roster and a name for themselves. Management brought back many starters and backups from last year, so this should be one of the harder lineups to crack for these young players, which is great for us. It just means that we are staying the course as the #1 ranked offense and defense from last season.