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Game Preview: Chargers at Cowboys
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DALLAS – The first half of Sunday’s preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys will appear more like a regular-season game.
Much of the starting offense played just one series in the preseason opener 10 days ago, and the defense didn’t play much longer. Head Coach Norv Turner plans to play the starters for much of the first two quarters in Cowboys Stadium.
“It’s a chance to get extended playing time together,” Turner said. “I liked what our starters did last week. Now they get to do it for another quarter basically.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. PT as the Chargers (0-1) play their second nationally-televised game, this time on NBC. Dallas (1-0) practiced with San Diego twice this week, giving each team’s young players the first chance to adjust to an opponent like they will during the regular season.
“We’ve gotten familiar with them and the Dallas people have gotten get familiar with us,” Turner said. “They’ll know a guy’s moves. They’ll know what he wants to do. And they’ll prepare for it, and we’ll do the same thing. So we’ll see how our guys handle it.”
Larry English, who did not play in the preseason opener, is expected to make his 2011 debut Sunday at outside linebacker. Darryl Gamble, a college free agent out of Georgia, made eight tackles and a sack against the Seahawks and could get more opportunities with Shaun Phillips, Travis LaBoy and Antwan Barnes unlikely to play.
Cowboys Pro Bowl receiver Miles Austin (hamstring) missed practice with San Diego earlier this week, but if he can’t play, the Chargers will contend with Dwayne Harris more often. The sixth-round pick from East Carolina caught five passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-23 win against Denver on Aug. 11.
Dallas first-round pick Tyron Smith (USC) is expected to start at right tackle and occupy the same side typically manned by Shaun Phillips and Luis Castillo for San Diego.
The Chargers and Cowboys met exactly one year ago in a preseason game at Qualcomm Stadium. Dallas won, 16-14, to take a 7-5 lead in the preseason series.
Philip Rivers provided a memorable moment last year, making an open-field tackle on a Dallas defender to prevent a touchdown.
A few days after Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick dove into Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu, Chargers fans hope Rivers avoids jeopardizing himself in a similar situation, but their quarterback’s competitive nature is tough to repress.
San Diego won the last regular-season meeting, 20-17, in Cowboys Stadium. The third-year venue hosted Chargers’ practices Friday and Saturday, and they’ll try for their first preseason win in the facility. Read