Pickin’ Bolts: Chargers’ Preseason Game 3 Notes

Aug 28, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (28) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings won 23-10. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: AP Photo
Credit: AP Photo

So Sunday’s game, the third preseason game, was the supposed “dress rehearsal” for the 2016 season. So what did we learn? Unfortunately, not much. Philip Rivers played about a quarter. Brandon Mebane didn’t play. Antonio Gates didn’t play.

One recurring conclusion I see is that people have about yesterday’s game is that the Chargers’ defense isn’t very good: From Peter King’s MMQB article, “Teddy Bridgewater looked terrific… The San Diego defense did not.” I’ve said from day one that Brandon Mebane was a HUGE signing for the Chargers. When he’s been on the field he’s lived in opposing teams’ backfields. If he can stay healthy, he’ll elevate the play of those around him. So it’s hard to draw conclusions about the Chargers defense when one of their key signees wasn’t on the field (not to mention Joey Bosa).

Additionally, there is a lot talk about how many turnovers the Chargers committed. But from the Chargers’ perspective – talking about giveaways here – there was only one turnover committed by the Chargers and their first team offense; the Rivers throw to Keenan Allen. It was well-defended by Trae Waynes but the ball went through Allen’s hands and bounced off his chest. Again, does Waynes deserve credit? Of course he does. But I would bet that Allen catches that 8 times out of 10 and only 1 time in 50 would it bounce right to a waiting defender.

After that our second string QB, Kellen Clemens, fumbled once and threw two interceptions. What conclusion can we draw from that? That if Clemens becomes our starter we’re in trouble? I think that’s a given. So because of that, I’m not worried about Chargers’ turnovers from yesterday.

One obvious take-away from yesterday is how much better Melvin Gordon has looked this preseason than he did last season. On that 39 yard TD run in the 1st quarter Gordon looked explosive; much more so than he did last year.

I don’t want to minimize the loss of backup RB Brandon Oliver, he was a really good backup and seemingly great guy. But I was more concerned about Joe Barksdale’s injury earlier in the game. Good to hear that it’s not serious. Chargers’ 2016 success hinges on Rivers, O-Line health, and Brandon Mebane more than anything else.

I’ve been trumpeting the upside of our Canadian football import, Dexter McCoil, since the Chargers signed him. It was good to see him get some game-reps with the first-team defense. Nice strip-fumble he forced, eh?

A few notes on the Vikings:

  1. Their OL looks stout. They will give Packers a serious run for division title. I have a hard time seeing where they’ll miss the playoffs.
  2. Norv Turner is such a good offensive coordinator.
  3. Teddy Bridgewater is good. In fact, he’s one reason why I’m so high on Bosa. If the draft happened immediately following the college football season Bridgewater would have been the #1 pick. But because of a bad workout and a bunch of scouts picking his game apart Bridgewater fell to the end of the 1st When the 2015/16 season college season ended Bosa & Laremy Tunsil were the consensus top picks. It was only later that other players emerged and/or climbed the draft boards.
  4. Their new stadium looked beautiful. Hope we can things worked out here locally. #VoteYESonC

Thanks for reading.


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