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

Bobby WagnerOct 22 08:03p

Seattle Seahawks SS Kam Chancellor (ankle), DT Jordan Hill (ankle), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), C Max Unger (foot) and LB Bobby Wagner (toe) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. [ More ]

Zach MillerOct 22 08:03p

Seattle Seahawks FB Derrick Coleman (foot) and TE Zach Miller (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22, and they have been ruled out for Week 8 against the Carolina Panthers.

Frostee RuckerOct 22 06:53p

Arizona Cardinals DE Calais Campbell (knee) and TE Troy Niklas (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. S Rashad Johnson (knee) was limited, while DE Frostee Rucker (calf) practiced in full.

Johnathan JosephOct 22 06:53p

Houston Texans LB Brian Cushing (knee), CB Johnathan Joseph (knee), CB Darryl Morris (ankle), LB Brooks Reed (groin), LB John Simon (ankle) and LB Jeff Tarpinian (knee) did not [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 22 06:33p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Donnie Avery (groin) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the St. Louis Rams. WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring) and CB Christopher Owens (knee) did [ More ]

Tre MasonOct 22 06:32p

St. Louis Rams RB Tre Mason could be the top candidate for a majority of carries since he is averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Mason rushed for 85 yards [ More ]

Dion SimsOct 22 05:53p

Miami Dolphins T Branden Albert (elbow), CB Cortland Finnegan (neck), WR Brandon Gibson (knee), CB Brent Grimes (groin), C Samson Satele (hamstring), TE Dion Sims (neck) and S Jimmy [ More ]

Jo-Lonn DunbarOct 22 05:43p

St. Louis Rams C Tim Barnes (shoulder), DE William Hayes (illness), CB Janoris Jenkins (knee), S T.J. McDonald (concussion) and OT Rodger Saffold (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. [ More ]

Scott SolomonOct 22 05:43p

Cleveland Browns WR Jonathan Krause, Seattle Seahawks TE Rashaun Allen and Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Solomon Patton and DE Scott Solomon cleared waivers and became free agents Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Billy WinnOct 22 05:33p

Cleveland Browns DE Desmond Bryant (wrist) and LB Barkeveous Mingo both fully participated in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. DE Ahtyba Rubin (ankle) and CB K'Waun Williams (concussion) were both [ More ]

Lance BriggsOct 22 05:23p

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (hand, hip) and SS Danny McCray (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. LB Jonathan Bostic (back) and LB Lance Briggs (ribs) [ More ]

Sharrif FloydOct 22 05:13p

Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (hernia), LB Gerald Hodges (hamstring) and C John Sullivan (concussion) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. DE Corey Wootton (back), DT Sharrif Floyd (ankle), [ More ]

Dashon GoldsonOct 22 05:13p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Jonathan Casillas (hamstring), OT Anthony Collins (knee), S Dashon Goldson (ankle) and S Keith Tandy (hamstring) were limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. C Johnthan Banks (neck) practiced in full.

Brandon BrownerOct 22 05:13p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. CB Brandon Browner (ankle), LB Jamie Collins (thigh), OG Dan Connolly (concussion), DE Dominique [ More ]

Josh McCownOct 22 05:13p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) was listed as a limited participant in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Brett KeiselOct 22 05:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers OT Marcus Gilbert (concussion), DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), DT Steve McLendon (shoulder), FS Mike Mitchell (non-injury) and SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) did not participate in practice Wednesday, [ More ]

Jimmy GrahamOct 22 04:53p

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Jonathan GoodwinOct 22 04:53p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (ankle, knee) and LB Kyle Knox (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. CB Keenan Lewis (knee, shoulder), LB Ramon Humber [ More ]

Thomas DavisOct 22 04:53p

Carolina Panthers CB Bene Benwikere (ankle), LB Chase Blackburn (knee), WR Philly Brown (concussion), LB Thomas Davis (non-injury), S Roman Harper (non-injury), OG Amini Silatolu (calf), OG Trai Turner [ More ]

A.J. GreenOct 22 04:43p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) wasn't feeling good enough to return to practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. Head coach Marvin Lewis said Green won't play in Week 8 against [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 22 04:43p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Reggie WayneOct 22 04:33p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Jake LockerOct 22 04:33p

Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker (thumb) was a limited participant in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Kelechi OsemeleOct 22 04:33p

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty (wrist) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. OT Eugene Monroe (knee) and OG Kelechi Osemele (knee) practiced in full.

Gosder CherilusOct 22 04:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Jack Doyle (knee) and OT Gosder Cherilus (rest) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. CB Darius Butler (ankle) was limited during practice, while DT [ More ]

James StarksOct 22 04:33p

Green Bay Packers RB James Starks (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. Starks injured the ankle in Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers.

Brandon ThompsonOct 22 04:33p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the Baltimore Ravens. DE Robert Geathers (toe), CB Leon Hall (back) and OG Mike Pollak [ More ]

Andre BranchOct 22 04:23p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Alan Ball (bicep) and DE Andre Branch (groin) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. C Luke Bowanko (ankle), CB Aaron Colvin (knee) and S Craig Loston (hamstring) were limited.

Trent RichardsonOct 22 04:23p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Mario WilliamsOct 22 04:13p

Buffalo Bills WR Marquise Goodwin (hamstring) and LB Ty Powell (ankle) both did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. WR Marcus Easley (knee) and S Aaron Williams (neck) [ More ]

Martellus BennettOct 22 04:13p

Chicago Bears TE Martellus Bennett (hamstring) said he expects to practice Thursday, Oct. 23, and play in Week 8. Bennett missed practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Nick MangoldOct 22 04:13p

New York Jets LB Trevor Reilly (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. OT Oday Aboushi (shoulder), CB Phillip Adams (groin), OG Willie Colon (knee), LB David Harris (shoulder) [ 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