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

Trent RichardsonJan 27 10:43a

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson's one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team voided the guarantee of a $3,184,062 salary in 2015.

Josh GordonJan 26 02:13p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is in Stage Three of an alcohol program, which requires him to be tested for alcohol for a minimum of two years. His failed [ More ]

Rob GronkowskiJan 26 02:03p

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski could cause a problem for the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl XLIX, because the Seahawks defense allowed 11 touchdowns to tight ends this [ More ]

Earl ThomasJan 26 02:03p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder) said he won't miss the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots with a dislocated shoulder, but he also admitted that it won't [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Jan 26 01:52p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) said he'll need to shut himself down this offseason in order to enter 2015 fully healthy and in great shape. He [ More ]

Josh GordonJan 26 12:33p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon tested positive for alcohol, according to sources, and his failed test will subject him to a possible one-year suspension. Gordon caught 24 passes for [ More ]

Vontaze BurfictJan 26 12:23p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (knee) is recovering from microfracture surgery on his left knee, and the surgeon who operated on him is hoping that he will be at [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Jan 26 11:22a

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) said he played this season with two tears in his right hamstring, which never fully healed.

Josh GordonJan 25 09:12p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will be under contract through the 2016 season, and he will only be a restricted free agent after that year due to his looming [ More ]

Josh GordonJan 25 04:12p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon has reportedly failed another drug test and will be subject to a one-year banishment, according to multiple league sources.

Earl ThomasJan 23 09:02p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder) will play in the Super Bowl, head coach Pete Carroll said Friday, Jan. 23.

Dennis PittaJan 23 04:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) met with some specialists last week, but the team is not expected to have an update on his status for a few weeks, [ More ]

Johnny ManzielJan 23 01:12p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel had a big proponent last year in owner Jimmy Haslam, but Haslam now thinks the team needs a quarterback in order to get their [ More ]

Jimmy GrahamJan 23 10:32a

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder) said he'll rehabilitate his shoulder injury after the Pro Bowl, but he hasn't made a final decision on surgery. 'It's something we [ More ]

Mark IngramJan 22 06:42p

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram, who will be eligible for free agency this offseason, wants to return to the team next year, and he thinks the interest is [ More ]

Vernon DavisJan 22 06:22p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis had just two touchdowns in 2014, and they both came in Week 1. He also wasn't targeted at all in the red zone [ More ]

Geno SmithJan 22 05:32p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith has a lot of talent and promise, according to new head coach Todd Bowles. At the same time, Bowles acknowledged that the quarterback [ More ]

Brian HoyerJan 22 04:52p

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer could be re-signed this offseason, according to his agent. Hoyer is expected to meet with general manager Ray Farmer and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo in the near future.

Johnny ManzielJan 22 02:43p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel will be working with a new offensive coordinator this year in John DeFilippo, but DeFilippo is unsure if the team's quarterback next year is [ More ]

Joe FlaccoJan 22 12:52p

Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco will have his fourth difference offensive coordinator in as many years in offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. However, head coach John Harbaugh is confident Flacco [ More ]

Tom BradyJan 22 10:12a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is now scheduled to speak to the media Thursday, Jan. 22, and he could come under fire due to the report of deflated [ More ]

Vontaze BurfictJan 21 09:03p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (knee) has had knee surgery, head coach Marvin Lewis confirmed Wednesday, Jan. 21. While there has been concern Burfict might have to begin the [ More ]

Mike WallaceJan 21 09:03p

Miami Dolphins WR Mike Wallace's future with the team is unclear. General manager Dennis Hickey would not say Wednesday, Jan. 21, whether Wallace will be back or if his [ More ]

Johnny ManzielJan 21 04:43p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel could benefit from new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, according to Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr. Carr said DeFilippo will do great with Manziel, adding [ More ]

Richard ShermanJan 21 04:23p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (elbow) said he will practice in a brace, but should not have any limitations on gameday.

Marc TrestmanJan 21 03:53p

Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said he wants to learn the specificities of the team's offense instead of changing it. Head coach John Harbaugh said Trestman's familiarity and [ More ]

Blake BortlesJan 21 03:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles should be able to develop under new offensive coordinator Greg Olson, according to general manager Dave Caldwell. Caldwell said Olson has the ability to [ More ]

Blake BortlesJan 21 03:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles developed bad habits and may need to start over, in the opinion of NFL Films guru Greg Cosell.

Latavius MurrayJan 21 12:53p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray is likely to be the team's lead back in 2015, and new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave plans tailor his system to Murray's talents. Musgrave [ More ]

Peyton ManningJan 21 11:03a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning plans to return in 2015, pending the results of his annual physical, according to three sources The Denver Post's Woody Paige trusts. The test [ More ]

Rashad JenningsJan 21 10:23a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings could have a veteran running back to complement or compete with him next season. The team could possibly add a change-of-pace back and [ More ]

Trent RichardsonJan 21 09:13a

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson was suspended and deactivated for the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 18.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group