Chargers vs. 49ers: Things to watch for in final preseason game
By Travis Wakeman
The Los Angeles Chargers will take the field as a 90-man team for the last time in less than one hour.
As the preseason concludes, the final game of the exhibition season is generally only excited if you’re really interested in who is going to win the final few roster spots that are up for grabs. But football is a process and even though you’re probably fired up and ready to go for the regular season, the last preseason game is a necessary part of the process.
And when the Chargers meet the San Francisco 49ers Thursday night, there are going to be some developments for fans to keep tabs on. Each of these things will contribute to the process and will help the team answer its final few questions from this offseason.
Who is going to kick for the team this season?
After the kicking woes the Chargers battled last season, this is one they obviously want to get right. However, there’s been no indication as to whether Roberto Aguayo or Caleb Sturgis is going to be the team’s kicker this season. There’s no indication because neither kicker has done anything of note this summer.
Will one of these guys emerge in this game and claim the position? Or is Anthony Lynn going to have to make a gut call, much like he did last season, when he chose Younghoe Koo over Josh Lambo?
If that ends up being the case, let’s hope he chooses right.
What can Justin Jackson offer?
Justin Jackson is going to suit up for the first time this preseason as a hamstring injury has dragged him down since early August. In his stead, undrafted rookie Detrez Newsome has stepped up and played quite well, making a case for the spot on the 53-man roster.
Unless Jackson has a magnificent game, it’s hard to argue that he should be kept over Newsome. Of course, there is the option for the team to keep them both and having four running backs on the roster.
It will be interesting to see how much work Jackson gets in this game.
Will Cardale Jones’ time be up?
Lynn is high on Cardale Jones. That’s why he came over from the Buffalo Bills. But he’s had a particularly bad offseason.
But Jones is still just 25 years old (he’ll turn 26 next month) and is still developing. So does Lynn want to give up on him now? The answer to that question could be complicated as Lynn would probably like to keep Jones around, but at what cost? A team has just 53 slots on its roster and each of those is important.
Since Philip Rivers hasn’t missed a game since 2006, there’s barely need for one backup quarterback, let alone two.
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Tight ends….. give us something
There is still a chance that Antonio Gates joins the team. The 38-year old may have already worked out that timeframe with Tom Telesco. But if one of the team’s tight ends could step up and show something as a receiver, that verbal agreement could be filed away.
Of course, the tight ends have had three other preseason games to do that and it hasn’t happened. Sean Culkin or Braedon Bowman needs to make a play in this game if for no other reason than to show the fanbase that there is a tight end on the roster who can be an additional target for Rivers this season.