BOLTHYPE senior writer Jeff Williams breaks down the good & bad of the San Diego Chargers' preseason, meeting Ryan Mathews, and more...
The preseason is over, and the Chargers will soon pare down their roster to the final 53 players. After watching the previous four exhibition games, what have we learned? The Chargers starting offense will be better with Ryan Mathews running the ball; that fact surprises no one. The Chargers starting defense? I think the jury is still out. They have had their moments, but have yet to put together a consistent performance. Hopefully that changes come September 13 in Kansas City.
Of greatest concern is what appears to be a lack of solid depth at a number of positions. Perhaps I'm just smarting from a ridiculously poor effort in Thursday's preseason finale, but stick with me here. More and more the Chargers have pushed former back-ups (Clary, Dombrowksi, Naanee, Cason, English to name a few) into starting roles without maintaining the level of talent behind them. The unit that stands out the most is the offensive line, an important piece to any contending team but one that is woefully lacking in depth on this roster.
Other thoughts from the preseason:
- Ryan Mathews will be a stud...no kidding, right? Let me finish; Ryan Mathews will be a stud, who may be more prone to injury then LT ever was early in his career. It was many years before LT ever suffered an injury worth mentioning. Throughout his career he made it a point to avoid the big hits that will wear a guy down. Unlike LT, Mathews has no problem running over a defender. Hey, that's great football to watch but does nothing to prolong a guy's career. Here's to hoping he can stay healthy for a number of postseasons runs.
- Antonio Garay is the best nose-tackle on the Chargers roster. I have high hopes for rookie Cam Thomas, but at this point you don't need to double-team him to neutralize him. Hopefully with experience, he will turn into the 2nd coming of the former #76.
- Luis Castillo looked solid in the preseason. I know this gets said every year, but perhaps this is the season where he becomes more of a force on the Chargers defense.
- Wasn't it great to see Buster Davis making plays in the preseason? He has the talent to be a factor this year, and this offense will be even better if he stays healthy.
- What happened to the pass rush? I'm starting to think that Steven Gregory and/or Weddle will lead the team in sacks.
- I'm much more worried about Jeromey Clary at right-tackle than Brandon Dombrowski at left-tackle.
- One more thing about the depth on this roster. I have no problem with guys working their way into the starting lineup. I just don't see the talent being replaced, and I think we saw that results of that in this preseason.
I had the chance to meet Ryan Mathews at an event earlier this week. As we have all heard, Mathews is a great guy, friendly, down to earth, with a big smile and a huge laugh. For a guy who spent a lot of time in the hottest and dirtiest places in California (you know, Bakersfield and Fresno), he told me that his favorite thing about San Diego was the weather. Big surprise, Ryan!
What did you get out of the Chargers preseason? Who stood out and who needs to step up? Sound off by commenting below!