There is a lot to consider in the Chargers' first preseason games. There are things San Diego did wrong. Things San Diego did right. Things that need improvement. Things that need to stay just where they are.
However, when it comes to preseason play, gameplay is not something that can be properly analyzed. Coaches aren't opening up the playbook and playing their true game.
The preseason is about one thing, and one thing only: talent evaluation.
So, with that in mind, here is a look at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the Chargers' players in preseason Game One.
1. Brandyn Dombrowski: Question: Where was Julius Peppers all night? O yeah, he was buried behind this wall.
Left Tackle has been one of the biggest question marks since the holdout fiasco with Marcus McNeill began. Many people figured (and still figure) that without McNeill, the Chargers stand no chance of making a deep playoff run.
Enter Brandyn Dombrowski. He came out last year as a stellar replacement to Jeromey Clary (RT). Now, in light of the holdouts, he is expected to take on a whole different load in the left tackle position.
On Saturday, he showed Chargers' fans why they shouldn't be afraid. He blanked Julius Peppers, one of the most feared pass rushers in the league, and he did a good job of opening room up for Ryan Mathews to take off.
2. Ryan Mathews: Fear not Chargers' fans, for the second coming is here. Mathews didn't run a whole lot, but his nine carries for 50 yards showed a lot of promise.
He also looked good blocking, something that caused some people some sleepless nights.
Mathews looks like the complete player Chargers fans were promised, and he should only get better.
3. Mike Tolbert: Can anyone stop this guy? Tolbert is 244 lbs of fighting fury, and he showed that on more than one occasion.
Tolbert showed not only that he could block, but that he could be used as a change of pace running back, picking up large gains on several occasions.
He also showed an incredible talent for the tough, short yardage pickups. Tolbert is the ultimate goal line and third-and-short weapon, something the Chargers desperately need.
1. Jeromey Clary: Three false start penalties? Clary has been out of the game for a while, but that is unacceptable.
While there was nothing especially bad about Clarys play, he was getting pushed around often enough, and he was the source of three of the Chargers nine first half penalties.
2. Nathan Vasher: He looked slow, his coverage was loose, and his tackling was not very good.
Vasher is a promising backup. When he gets some more recovery time under his belt, he may start to show some improvement.
As of now, though, he is out of the cornerback and the nickel back competitions. Vasher may be riding the bench for a good part of the regular season.
3. Billy Latsko: Latsko was great out of the backfield, so perhaps he should be playing a position other than fullback. As a running back, he may be able to take fuller advantage of his short yardage running ability and his good hands.
As a blocker, though, Latsko may never be good enough.
He got absolutely leveled by Nick Roach, and his run blocking was sub par. Latsko is unable to properly perform his primary job.
1. Penalties: Penalties are bad. That one is obvious. When teams give up yardage or give away free yardage to opposing offenses, they only hurt their ability to perform.
Regular season or preseason, nine penalties are bad. Really bad. Norv Turner most likely ripped the team a new one after the game, and hopefully that will be the end of this kind of play. If not, something seriously needs to give.
2. Nate Kaedings Kickoffs: Nate Kaeding has never been known for having a monster leg, but when he is putting kickoffs near the 10 yard line off center, he gives opposing special teams units things to work with.
Who knows whether or not this is the product of Kaeding's post-playoff meltdown or not, but something has to change, or the Chargers may be looking to Nick Novak or another kicker to takeover as a place kicking specialist.