San Diego Chargers vs. Cardinals: 4 Things the Bolts Need To Figure out
This is the second-to-last game of the 2011 NFL preseason, so they need to have everything figured out for the 2011 regular season soon.
The game against the Cardinals will help the Chargers answer questions the previous two games failed to address.
Here are five things the Bolts need to figure out during Saturday's game against the Cards.
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The Chargers' linebacker issue has been present since they became a legitimate playoff contender in 2004. Adding Takeo Spikes helped, but now Stephen Cooper is pretty much gone for the season after suffering an injury against the Dallas Cowboys in the Chargers' second preseason game.
The team has a few options, which include Darryl Gamble (more on him later) or Larry English.
Regardless, the team needs to figure out who's going to fill in at linebacker against the Cardinals. This game should see the Bolts testing out some young talent and if no one can fill the void Cooper left, they may have to resort to free agency to pick up a veteran.
The Efficacy of Kelly Washington or Patrick Crayton
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The San Diego Chargers have had some issues at wide-out, but re-adding Vincent Jackson and the emergence of Malcolm Floyd have eased that.
Still, the Bolts need a slot receiver and Kelley Washington and Patrick Crayton are the front-runners.
No one's sure which will fit best, and though Crayton is likely to be winning the race right now, Washington still has a shot to win the slot position.
The Arizona Cardinals defense is pretty much a punching bag, so the Bolts can go to town against the Cards' corners and safeties. If Crayton or Washington have awesome games against a bad secondary, things could start to look a little clearer at the slot.
Darryl Gamble's Potential
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Everyone fell in love with linebacker Darryl Gamble during the first week of the preseason when he exploded for eight tackles against the Seattle Seahawks.
However, against the Dallas Cowboys last week he was relatively quiet, getting in on just one tackle and one assist.
Gamble could prove to be a hell of a gem—he was an undrafted free agent rookie—especially considering the fact that the Chargers are thin at linebacker.
Still, Gamble isn't a sure thing (Insert "gambling" joke here). It's possible that he might have had one awesome preseason game against backups, but what's the harm in trying him out again?
The game against the Cardinals should be a solid gauge since the Cards' offensive line is shoddy, but is Gamble opportunistic enough to make a name for himself?
Chargers' Discipline Meter
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In case you haven't noticed, the San Diego Chargers don't have much discipline.
The Chargers made some mental errors against the Dallas Cowboys last week and had a ton more against the Seahawks the previous week. Although these are just preseason games, they're also a showing of how ready the team is for the regular season.
The Chargers aren't in mid-season form is, but thanks to the lockout, who is? Luckily, they still have time to improve.
San Diego needs to be extremely on point at all times if they want to make themselves a legit playoff contender.