By Dave Thomas
As the San Diego Chargers get set to tackle the 2014 season in Glendale, Arizona next Monday evening versus the Cardinals, the squad finalized its preseason cuts and named players to the practice squad within the last few days. With those moves made, all eyes are now focused on the Cardinals and kicking off the season with a win.
Having to reach the mandatory 53-man roster by early last Saturday afternoon, the Chargers began to finalize their cuts not long after a 12-9 win over the Cardinals at home in the preseason finale last Thursday evening.
As all teams can do, San Diego then proceeded to name players to the 2014 practice squad.
Those players are: running back Marion Grice, quarterback Ryan Lindley, wide receivers Javontee Herndon and Torrence Allen, tackle Jeremiah Sirles, guard Craig Watts, defensive lineman Chas Alecxih, outside linebacker Cordarro Law, corner Greg Ducre and safety Adrian Phillips.
Cardinals Good Opening Test
When the Chargers (all-time regular season record of 408-401-11 ties from 1960-2013) take the field in Arizona Monday evening, they will be looking to continue their overall dominance against a franchise that sports a losing record against San Diego. To date, the Chargers own a 9-3 regular season edge over the Cardinals in head-to-head meetings.
That said, expect Arizona (3-point favorite) not to waste much time in testing San Diego’s secondary, definitely a point of concern for Bolts fans in recent years.
While two-time Pro-Bowl free safety Eric Weddle (115 total tackles, 2 INT’s in 2013) is strong at his position, a number of question remarks remain throughout San Diego’s secondary, along with whether or not the team can put together a consistent pass rush from game to game.
In his second season in the desert, Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer (threw for more than 4,000 yards last season) can certainly serve up his share of interceptions at times (22 in 2013), but he also has the luxury of working with one of the game’s top receivers in Larry Fitzgerald.
Ever since the best days of linebacker Shawne Merriman (3-time Pro Bowler 2005-2007, left the Chargers in 2010), San Diego has failed to have a reliable pass rush from week to week. San Diego totaled all of 35 sacks a season ago, with defensive end Corey Liuget leading the way with 5.5 sacks.
In order to kick off the 2014 season successfully, San Diego will need to keep Palmer and Fitzgerald in check, hold running back Andre Ellington to under 100 yards rushing, and get stellar offensive efforts from the likes of running back Ryan Mathews and several wide receivers, most notably second-year talent Keenan Allen.
If all those things fall into place, the Chargers could very well be 1-0 heading into a showdown the following weekend at home with defending Super Bowl champ Seattle.
For more Chargers news and updates, visit Chargers Central.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.