The Los Angeles Chargers begin their official ‘fight for L.A’ at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow when the Bolts host the Seattle Seahawks at StubHub Center. For the first time, they will take the field under Head Coach Anthony Lynn, the eyes of Chargers Nation will be squarely centered on them. The Seahawks will certainly present a great test for the Bolts. And, while it is preseason, fans can expect an entertaining contest.
Here are a few things to keep an eye on during tomorrow’s game.
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Philip Rivers is set to begin his 14th season as the leader of the Chargers offense. He had yet another productive season in 2016, posting the second most TD passes (33) of his career while setting the franchise record in passing yards. It will be great to see Keenan Allen return to action for the first time since suffering an ACL injury in last year’s season opener. It also marks Melvin Gordon’s return after suffering an injury in Week 13. The Chargers have also upgraded an offensive line that struggled mightily in 2016. The injury to rookie Forrest Lamp will be a tough loss, so look for veteran Russell Okung to play a major role in anchoring the line and providing veteran leadership.
Fans will get their first look at the defense under new coordinator Gus Bradley. The transition to a 4-3 defense will be of great interest, particularly how Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram look as bookend pass rushers at defensive end. Brandon Mebane faces his former team for the first time since joining the Chargers last year, while Tre Boston will make his Chargers debut. It is uncertain at this time, whether cornerback Jason Verrett will be in action. If so, it will be great to see his return to the field.
A Familiar Preseason Foe
The Chargers are no stranger to Seahawks in the preseason. They are 4-10 all-time against Seattle before the regular-season kickoff. It’s no secret that would hope to improve on that history this year. They’ve faced the Seahawks in four of the last six preseasons. However, this will be the first time they have faced the ‘Hawks in the preseason since 2015.
Tale of the Tape
Offense: In 2016, the Chargers ranked 14th in total offense (356.8 yards per game), eighth in passing (262.4 ypg), 26th in rushing (94.4 ypg) and ninth in points (25.6). The Seahawks ranked 12th in total offense (357.2 ypg), 10th in passing (257.8 ypg), 25th in rushing (99.4 ypg) and 18th in points (22.1).
Defense: In 2016, the Chargers ranked 16th in total defense (347.1 ypg), 20th in passing (249.2 ypg), 10th in rushing (97.9 ypg) and 29th in points allowed (26.4). Seattle ranked fifth in total defense (318.7 ypg), eighth in passing (225.8 ypg), seventh in rushing (92.2 ypg) and third in points allowed (18.2).
The Chargers have 35 new players in 2017. Most, if not all of them, will see playing time on Sunday against the Seahawks. Russell Okung, Cardale Jones, Kenjon Barner and Tre Boston are veterans set to make their team debut. Dan Feeney, Rayshawn Jenkins, Desmond King, Sam Tevi and Isaac Rochell will be representing the Bolts’ 2017 draft class. Rookies Mike Williams and Forrest Lamp will be conspicuous by their absences. Williams started training camp on the PUP list, and continues to rehab a back injury. Lamp has been placed on season-ending IR with a torn ACL.
Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn will be coaching against his former coach, Pete Carroll, for whom Lynn played in San Francisco from 1995-1996.
Chargers Assistant Head Coach George Stewart also played for Carroll in 1996.
Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley served as Seattle’s Defensive Coordinator from 2009-2012.
Chargers ILB Korey Toomer played for the Seahawks from 2012-2013.
New Chargers OT Russell Okung was a key cog in the Seattle Seahawks offensive line from 2010-2015.
Chargers NT Brandon Mebane played for Seattle from 2007-2015
WR Jatavis Brown and Seahawks DT Rodney Coe were teammates at the University of Akron from 2014-2015.
Chargers NT Damion Square was teammates with Seahawks RB Eddie Lacy at Alabama from 2009-2012.
Chargers RB Melvin Gordon and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson were teammates at Wisconsin alongside Seahawks WR Tanner McEvoy in 2011.
– Mike D’Abate is the Managing Editor for cover32/Chargers and covers the Los Angeles Chargers.