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Chargers limping into season
Posted Aug. 24 at 07:04 AM
The third preseason game is usually considered the dress rehearsal for the regular season. The Chargers will have to hope that isn't the case.
Understandably concerned about their offensive line and possibly spooked by injuries to Ryan Mathews and Vincent Brown in their first two preseason games, the Chargers will hold their two biggest stars, Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, out of the third exhibition Friday night. Either those players will put in a cameo appearance in the fourth exhibition a week from now, which seldom happens, or you won't see them again until Week 1.
Give Norv Turner credit, anyway, for not mincing any words about his plan. "There are a lot of things you want to accomplish in a preseason game," said Turner, "but (Rivers' health) would be the No. 1 thing that would weigh on our mind."
Turner added that he wants to see backup Charlie Whitehurst in a starting role, because "It's something we may be in the position during the regular season that we have to do that." Turner, and anybody holding onto any key skill position players for the Chargers, should dearly hope that isn't the case.
Turner's approach makes a lot of sense, considering San Diego will be without three starters on the line: Jared Gaither (back), Tyronne Green (foot) and Nick Hardwick (concussion). Having Rivers get clobbered in a meaningless game behind backups would serve little purpose.
But San Diego better hope all those players are good to go in Week 1. San Diego opens with its annual grudge match in Oakland, followed by games against Tennessee, Atlanta, and Kansas City. Some good pass rushers on those teams: Kamerion Wimbley, John Abraham, Tamba Hali.
It's early, but things don't look for the San Diego offense right now. I'll set the over-under on Jared Allen takedowns of Charlie Whitehurst tonight at 2.5.
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