8/3/13 – By James Fedewa
The first Chargers preseason game of the year kicks off on this Thursday night against the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle is a Super Bowl favorite this preseason and their roster is extremely loaded and talented, specifically their projected starters (yet two of their stars are out with injuries (Clemens/Harvin). Preseason games are only exhibitions, so the main things to focus on are numerous matchups. What to look forward to:
Most Important, Chargers Tackles vs. Seahawks Defensive Ends:
- LT King Dunlap & Max Starks vs. Cliff Avril & Bruce Irving
- Rookie RT D.J. Fluker & Mike Harris vs. Red Bryant & Michael Bennett
San Diego will debut three new tackles and they will have their hands full with Seattle’s one-on-one matchups. You could not find a group of (wide-nine) defensive ends and pass rushers in the league better than the Seahawks (and Chris Clemens is not even activated). Newbies Dunlap, Starks and Fluker will be eager to show-off and perform well on their new teams. Will quarterback Phillip Rivers survive the first preseason game with three new O-Tackles protecting him? Challenge Accepted…
Next set of notable matchups, in order of importance:
- ROLB Dwight Freeney vs. LT Russell Okung (will Freeney play?)
- CB Shareece Wright vs. WR Golden Tate (two fast guys, should be fun to watch)
- NT Cam Thomas vs. C Max Unger
- RDE Kendal Reyes vs. LG James Carpenter (great match up, looks very even)
- SS Marcus Gilchrist vs. TE Zach Miller (smaller SS vs. a big TE)
- TE Antonio Gates vs. SS Kam Chancellor (Chancellor is a BIG hitter, but Gates will own him)
- CB Derek Cox vs. WR Sidney Rice (SD’s new #1CB takes on Seattle’s #1 WR, Percy Harvin OUT)
- Slot WR Eddie Royal vs. Nickel CB Antoine Winfield (Royal will have his catches, but no YAC w/ Winfield)
- WR Malcolm Floyd vs. CB Brandon Browner (two bigs, slight advantage M80)
- DE Corey Liuget vs. OG Paul McQuistan (Liuget should excel)
- WR Denario Alexander vs. CB Richard Sherman (Sherman is great, but DX is pretty good)
- RB Ryan Matthews & FB LeRon McClain vs. MLB Bobby Wagner & SOLB K.J. Wright (this should be the focus of the game, advantage San Diego)
- ILB’s Manti Te’o & Donald Butler vs. RB Marshawn Lynch and FB Michael Robinson (Lynch not expected to play, advantage SD, should be fun to watch a Te’o and Butler tandem)
*Free Safeties Eric Weddle & Earl Thomas are both the freelancing ball-hawks on each team. Both will support each defense respectably, accordingly and matchups vary.
Quarterbacks Russell Wilson is a wildcard the Seahawks have in their back pocket. He can run, he can pass he can do everything. He’s the Seattle feature player, as is Phillip Rivers (minus the running). Rivers will showoff his new quick-strike offence, which will make his o-line love him even more. His quick release doubled up with a short pass offense will make his numbers look outstanding.
The average ticket price for Thursday night’s matchup is $50, according to Razorgator.com. Tickets begin at only $5 and if you’re looking to closely monitor the above matchups, you can grab lower level seats for as low as $23.