2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Five things to know from Chargers-Cardinals

By BOB BAUM - AP Sports Writer
    2013-08-25 03:43

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - The third preseason game is supposed to come closest to representing the real thing.

If so, the San Diego Chargers feel a lot better than they did before, and the Arizona Cardinals have plenty of cause for concern.

After two difficult outings in their first two preseason games, the Chargers put together a solid effort in all three phases in Saturday night's 24-7 victory over the Cardinals.

Arizona, meanwhile, stumbled through a series of mistakes, especially in the first half, and - more significantly - experienced at least one severe injury, maybe more.

``The injuries to me are a little more concerning than the way we played,'' coach Bruce Arians said. ``We can correct the way we played. We can't correct injuries. That's the price you pay in preseason games sometimes.''

The biggest injury was to first-round draft pick Jonathan Cooper, the starting left guard who broke his left leg. Arians said that while it's not certain Cooper won't be able to come back at some point this season, it appeared likely he would be lost for the season.

Meanwhile, Chargers new coach Mike McCoy said his team played the way he wants to see it perform week in and week out.

``I think we are headed in the right direction,'' he said, ``but we have a long way to go.''

Here are five things we learned from the Chargers-Cardinals game.

1. ARIZONA IS HURTING: The Cardinals have a long list of players injured in the game. Several will need MRIs, Arians said.

The loss of Cooper was particularly devastating. The seventh overall pick in the draft, he had moved almost immediately into the starting line. Now he's gone most of the season, if not all of it.

Daryn Colledge, who moved from left tackle to right to make room for Cooper, could move back to the left side and Paul Fanaika, a surprise in camp, taking over at right guard.

Another worrisome injury is to running back Rashard Mendenhall. Mendenhall looked good, gaining 47 yards in six attempts, before having to leave the game with an injury to the knee that he had surgery on last year.

``He feels some looseness on his knee, in the operative knee,'' Arians said. ``And he was having a great game, so we'll have to wait and see what the MRI says.''

Also injured for Arizona were nose tackle Dan Williams (ankle), tight end D.C. Jefferson (knee), TE Rob Housler (knee), LB Matt Shaughnessy (ankle) and WR Andre Roberts (quadriceps).

2. CHARGERS SPECIAL TEAMS WERE SPECIAL: Kevin Spencer, the highly successful special teams coach for Arizona under Ken Whisenhunt, had a triumphant return to the desert.

The Chargers blocked a punt and a field goal and reeled off a 44-yard punt return.

Darrell Stuckey came through to block Dave Zastudil's punt after the Chargers held Arizona to three-and-out on its first possession.

``Nobody came out to block me down the seam there,'' Stuckey said, ``and I just kind of went through and made the play.''

When Arizona was threatening to tie the game at 7-7, Housler dropped a touchdown pass in the end zone and Dan Carpenter set up for a 26-yard field goal. But it was blocked by Kwame Geathers.

3. MATHEWS IS HEALTHY: Ryan Mathews gained over 1,000 yards and made the Pro Bowl two seasons ago. Last year, he was slowed by two broken collarbones and the Chargers ranked near the bottom of the NFL in rushing.

So far in the preseason, Mathews has looked strong.

Against Arizona, he carried 14 times for 57 yards, with a long gain of 18. He scored on a 1-yard touchdown dive at the end of a 92-yard drive that consumed almost seven minutes of the first quarter.

Rookie tackle D.J. Fluker helped clear the way for Mathews.

``The main thing I try to tell everybody is let's be an efficient offense,'' Fluker said. ``Let's beat that team early. We're under the radar right now, so when we come out they're like `Oh, wow, we didn't expect this from this team.' Hopefully with that mindset we can beat each opponent every play.

Mathews did fumble at the Arizona goal line, but even that play led to a San Diego touchdown.

Which leads us to...

4. A LATERAL CAN BE A BAD IDEA: When Mathews fumbled as he dove toward the goal line, the ball popped far from the line of scrimmage.

Arizona safety Rashad Johnson was the only one close to it, and he rolled on it, but decided to get up and run. So far, so good.

But as he was about to be tackled, he inexplicably decided to lateral back to linebacker Sam Acho, who was just a few steps outside the end zone. Acho caught the ball just as tight end Antonio Gates was zeroing in on him. Gates hit Acho, the ball popped free, and John Phillips grabbed it out of the air and jogged three yards for the San Diego touchdown.

5. CHALLENGES CAN BACKFIRE: McCoy thought he would get a turnover when he challenged an incomplete pass ruling.

Carson Palmer had thrown to Andre Roberts and the ball fell to the ground. But it appeared on replays that Roberts had taken a step or two with the ball before it came loose.

Sure enough, that was the case. But the officials ruled that Roberts, not the Chargers, had recovered at the San Diego 16. Palmer threw a touchdown pass to Michael Floyd on the next play.

---

Online:

AP NFL site: http://pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Bob Baum at www.twitter.com/Thebaumerphx

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

T Y HiltonDec 19 11:52a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is not participating in the portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

Julio JonesDec 19 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

DeMarco MurrayDec 19 10:52a

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) is likely to play in Week 16, according to a source. Murray has a high threshold for pain, and according to the source, [ More ]

Eddie LacyDec 19 10:12a

Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy (eye) said he wasn't able to read a teammate's nameplate a few feet away in the locker room Thursday, Dec. 18. Lacy said [ More ]

Leon WashingtonDec 18 11:32p

Tennessee Titans RB Leon Washington caught a team-high seven passes for 62 yards and a touchdown in the team's 21-13 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday, Dec. 18. He [ More ]

Philip RiversDec 18 11:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) looked good throwing the ball in the practice Thursday, Dec. 18, according to head coach Mike McCoy. 'Philip had an outstanding day,' [ More ]

Peyton ManningDec 18 07:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh, illness) said his illness is behind him, and he was receiving treatment for his thigh Thursday, Dec. 18. Head coach John Fox called Manning day-to-day.

Roy MillerDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Tommy StreeterDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Kendall WrightDec 18 07:12p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (hand) is active for Week 16 after being limited in practice all week.

Frank GoreDec 18 07:02p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) continues through the concussion protocol this week, but head coach Jim Harbaugh anticipates Gore suiting up in Week 16 against the San [ More ]

Julius ThomasDec 18 06:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) played just 29 snaps in Week 15; only ten of them were pass routes, according to Pro Football Focus.

Rashad JenningsDec 18 06:12p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Carlos HydeDec 18 05:52p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

DeAndre HopkinsDec 18 05:42p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, Dec. 18.

Blake BortlesDec 18 04:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles has earned positive reviews from the team in his rookie season after being thrust into the spotlight early this year. 'That is not the [ More ]

Jay CutlerDec 18 04:12p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler was benched just for this week against the Detroit Lions, according to head coach Marc Trestman. Cutler will be active and serve as the [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsDec 18 04:02p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (hand) will be fitted cast that he can play with on his injured hand. Williams still has not caught a pass with the injured [ More ]

Rashad JenningsDec 18 04:02p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) has not been able to do any running this week, according to head coach Tom Coughlin.

Ryan MathewsDec 18 03:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Cam NewtonDec 18 02:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, and appears to be on track to start in Week 16, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

DeMarco MurrayDec 18 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand), who was expected to take some team snaps in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, is in no more risk if he plays in Week [ More ]

Cam NewtonDec 18 02:12p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) said he is not dealing with any pain in his back but is taking things one day at a time. Newton said he [ More ]

Peyton ManningDec 18 02:02p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) left practice early Thursday, Dec. 18, because he is receiving a scheduled day of rest. Manning was not limping when he was walking to the locker room.

LeSean McCoyDec 18 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Chris Polk appears to have become the team's goal-line back of late, and two of the three snaps he played in Week 15 led to short [ More ]

Chris PolkDec 18 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Chris Polk appears to have become the team's goal-line back of late, and two of the three snaps he played in Week 15 led to short [ More ]

Cam NewtonDec 18 01:22p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) had an increased set of repetitions in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, and it looks like he's on track to play in Week 16 [ More ]

Rashad JenningsDec 18 12:52p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Andre JohnsonDec 18 12:52p

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson (concussion) has cleared the leagues concussion protocol and will play in the team's Week 16 game.

Julio JonesDec 18 12:12p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Case KeenumDec 18 10:03a

Houston Texans QB Case Keenum is expected to start in Week 16.

Philip RiversDec 18 09:22a

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is battling a back injury that is more severe than the team has acknowledged, according to a league source. Rivers' back injury [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group