San Diego Chargers: Facing the True Test of Their Run Defense Against the 49ers

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San Diego Chargers: Facing the True Test of Their Run Defense Against the 49ers
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

With all the questions regarding the Chargers run defense since the end of last season, there will be no more of a truer test than facing the 49ers in this last preseason matchup.

Why?  

Of all the teams that live by the ground and pound offensive philosophy, the 49ers are the mirror image of it.  

The 49ers would love nothing more than to keep testing their two HUGE rookie additions in Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis in the running game.  Both Frank Gore and Anthony Dixon have done more than they should in the running game this preseason.  

Also, keep in mind that the majority of coaches in the NFL will leave their starters in a lot longer so when the season starts, the first team players are ready to go. 

With the tough competition going on with the defensive line, Norv Turner and Ron Rivera will get a good look at who will step up to the challenge and show who's capable of taking double teams especially against an offensive line that is built for the running game.

Questions of whether certain guys can be every-down linemen will arise and whether the system of a rotation along the defensive line will work better in the long haul will be answered.  

What also makes this game important is the fact that the Chargers will be facing five out of the first six teams that are more than likely to run the ball a lot.  The Chiefs, Jaguars, Cardinals, Raiders, and Rams will try to test the Chargers run defense.  

The Chiefs, with a struggling Matt Cassel, will likely to run the ball more with Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles.  The Cardinals with a struggling Matt Leinart will likely run the ball more with Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells.  

The Raiders will try to establish a running game against the Chargers.  The Jaguars always have been known to have their strength in the running game.  

Lastly, the Rams will love to run the ball more if they're planning on using a rookie QB this season.

Look no further than this game to see if the Chargers defense has truly been fixed.  If the defense holds, the Chargers could very well be a team to be reckoned with as they're nearly unstoppable on offense.  The only thing that could stop the Chargers offense is itself.

Looking at it from the offensive side of the ball, the Chargers should get a pretty good look going up against a 3-4 defense other than their own as they'll prepare to face another 3-4 defense in the Chiefs for their season opener.

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