Chargers preseason shows a tale of two teams

Chargers preseason shows a tale of two teams
Shaun Phillips prompts the crowd to make some noise. Photo by Bill Reilly

SAN DIEGO – It could be the best of teams, it could be the worst of teams, but until the regular season begins and the roster is finalized, it will be hard to tell just which team the Chargers will be. 

Following Saturday’s preseason uneven 28-20 win against the Dallas Cowboys, Chargers head coach Norv Turner said that the team still has “a lot of work to do.”

Turner said the team’s slow start to the first half served as a great reminder to him and the team that they’ve got a lot of new faces and a lot of new people trying to get on the same page.

A testament to that was free agent-acquired running back Ronnie Brown who rushed for 16 yards on six carries, filling in for the injured Ryan Mathews.

Second-year receiver Vincent Brown out of San Diego State would leave the game in the third quarter with a broken ankle after catching a touchdown pass from Charlie Whitehurst.

Turner said Brown would be evaluated over the next couple of days. He added that he thinks the team has “good” depth at the wide receiver position.

Philip Rivers and the offense continue to probe opposing defenses looking to find their rhythm. “The first quarter we had three plays, three snaps, so we got to keep improving,” Rivers said. Rivers threw two interceptions, one that appeared under thrown to new receiver Robert Meachem, the second was a pass over the middle to Vincent Brown in the second quarter that was tipped and caught by cornerback Brandon Carr.

As the team endures its growing pains, Turner has described their developing identity as “fast,” “physical,” and “high-energy.”

The Chargers seemed none of those things in the first half, with the offense struggles in the first quarter and the defense allowing lots of time for Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to wait for a play to develop down field.

But the preseason isn’t about wins and losses; it’s a time for individuals to prove they can play at this level and help the team win.

Those that continued to impress are rookie draftees, linebacker Melvin Ingram and defensive end Kendall Reyes. Though Ingram didn’t get the start, he came into the game in the first quarter, adding extra pressure to Romo, and sacking Cowboys backup quarterback Stephen McGee in the third quarter.

Ingram said he feels he’s coming along strong, adding that, “There are always things that I need to work on.”

Shareece Wright, the Chargers backup cornerback, also made an impression with a sack resulting in a turnover and an interception that he ran back 73 yards to set up the offense for a 1-yard touchdown run two plays later.

Wright said he saw “the light” when he made that interception. “It was a good play by DeAndre Presley breaking on the ball, getting the ball in the air and giving me the opportunity to catch it and after that I was just trying to get to the endzone.”

Wright is beginning his second year with the Chargers and said that he’s overcoming the transitions from being a starter and playing every game in college to the NFL and suiting up one week and not suiting up the next. “It was just something that I had to overcome as a player and it was a humbling situation. I knew when I had the opportunity and I was ready the time would come,” he said.

“It means a lot,” Wright said. “(I) just got to get better. That’s the thing, you know, where I’m at it’s you can’t be satisfied and just know the potential I have as a football player and just work to get better.”

He’s one of the players that Turner said he was excited about. “He’s a guy that didn’t have a lot of opportunities; was hurt, a lot of different things last year. I think he’s just making strides on a daily basis.”

Turner was also pleased with Whitehurst’s performance in the second half, completing seven of 12 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns.

“I’ve been talking a lot about Charlie Whitehurst and he played the way he’s been preparing and practicing. I think he’s going to be an outstanding player for us if we get in a position where he needs to play,” Turner said.

The Chargers continue their preseason at Minnesota Aug. 24.

 

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