Pickin’ Bolts: Chargers’ Preseason Game 2 Notes

Credit: ArizonaSun
Credit: ArizonaSun

I saw Jim Trotter on one of ESPN NFL shows recently talking about the AFC West. He said what I’ve been saying for months. The Chargers have quietly had a VERY GOOD offseason. I’m not sure if they can/will win the division or not but they sure are better than the 28th ranked team (as ESPN opines).

Here are some notes from Friday night’s 2nd preseason game:

I thought the San Diego Chargers’ Special Teams looked good early. They tackled well, they seemed to maintain their lanes (sometimes that’s hard to verify from broadcast television angles). Travis Benjamin had some solid if unspectacular returns – he looked significantly better than Chargers’ returners looked last year…

Second year linebacker Denzel Perryman is a monster. If he were 6’0”+ and/or if he ran a sub-4.60 40-yard dash at the combine (he ran a 4.68) he would have been a first round draft choice. Instead he just plays like one.

The play in the first quarter where he almost got the safety shouldn’t be looked at as a missed tackle (though I’m certain that’s the way he looks at it), it should be viewed as a play where he disrupted the flow of the play and allowed his teammate to make a no-gain tackle.

I was critical of second-year WR Isaiah Burse after the 1st game. I still think he’s more likely to make the practice squad than the 53-man roster but he made a real nice contested catch early in the 2nd quarter.

Also in the 2nd quarter, CBS 8’s Heather Myer interviewed Antonio Gates. In the interview Gates referenced Hunter Henry’s work ethic, feel for the game, and catching ability…he also coyly referenced how Henry was better than in those areas than other guys who had been here…a not-so-subtle dig on Ladarius Green? I thought so.

Maybe I’m hard on Burse because of how much I like Tyrell Williams. I really do like T. Williams.

I am HUGELY impressed with how well the 1st team defense is playing. But the Chargers, maybe more than other teams, really need to stay healthy. When the second team defense comes there seems to be quite a drop-off, especially with the run-defense.

Brandon Oliver looks more elusive and quicker than I remember him being.

Credit: AP Photo
Credit: AP Photo

I was a little surprised that Zach Mettenberger didn’t play at all. I think the Chargers are disappointed he hasn’t made more of his opportunity. With some of the tougher cut questions (last WR on the squad, last DL, last OL, etc.) still being worked out, the Chargers may cut Mettenberger sooner rather than later so they can keep players they want to further evaluate.

When the Chargers drafted Joshua Perry in the fourth round of this year’s draft. Lots of Chargers arm-chair GMs thought Perry might supplant Te’o as the ILB running mate with Denzel Perryman. Te’o, however, has played well this preseason. He looks more aggressive. He’s shooting gaps rather than sitting back. He looks much more effective than he did last year. I still think this might be his last year with San Diego. In a salary cap league you can’t pay everyone top dollar and Perry should be ready to step in by the time the next offseason rolls around. And the Chargers would likely obtain an extra compensatory pick by letting Te’o sign elsewhere.

As I mentioned in my game 1 notes, WR Dom Williams went undrafted primarily because he had a rather high collegiate drop-rate. He’s showing much more reliable hands than we had reason to expect based on those scouting reports.

I made a note to myself after Josh Lambo kicked his extra point and his first field goal, that while successful, the kicks didn’t look right in the air. The spin wasn’t normal…his latter kicks looked much better.

Last week I made the point that the best thing about game 1 was that the Chargers made it through the game unscathed by injuries. Unfortunately we cannot say that about game 2. Seventh round draft pick, Donavon Clark and free agent TE, Jeff Cumberland were each lost for the season Friday night. Clark was playing very well and was well on his way to earning a backup guard job. He’ll be missed. Cumberland was also playing well but he wasn’t going to see as much playing time as long as Gates & Henry stayed healthy.

It’s always fun to watch Philip Rivers play. So it was disappointing to not have that option, but despite that by knocking off the highly-rated Cardinals, the Chargers demonstrated that will not be a push-over in 2016.

Thanks for reading.


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