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Scouting Report: Chargers vs. Seahawks
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The Bolts are back! The San Diego Chargers kick off the 2013 preseason when they host the Seattle Seahawks Thursday night at Qualcomm Stadium. The game marks the beginning of a new era in Chargers history under the leadership of head coach Mike McCoy and general manager Tom Telesco. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00pm. Click here for tickets.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
The Chargers brought in a new offensive coordinator in Ken Whisenhunt, who spent the previous six seasons at the helm of the Arizona Cardinals. Leading the attack is Philip Rivers, the venerable quarterback entering his 10th season under center. In 2012, he recorded his fifth-straight 3,500-yard season, throwing for 3,606 yards and 26 touchdowns. Also returning are last year’s leading rusher, Ryan Mathews, as well as 2012’s leading receiver, Malcom Floyd, and eight-time Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates. The biggest change offensively is to the offensive line as only two holdovers (Nick Hardwick and Jeromey Clary) from last year’s front five are back, though Clary is moving to a new position (right guard). The line features three newcomers, including right tackle D.J. Fluker, the team’s top pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
On Offense for the Seahawks
Russell Wilson returns at quarterback after throwing for 3,118 yards and 26 touchdowns as a rookie. Leading rusher Marshawn Lynch, who racked up 1,590 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012, is also back to lead the rushing attack. The Seahawks’ top four receivers all return, and the team thought they bolstered their receiving corps in the offseason by adding former Minnesota Vikings standout Percy Harvin. Unfortunately, Harvin has a hip injury and is set to miss most of the season.
On Defense for the Chargers
John Pagano returns for his second year as defensive coordinator, looking to build upon an impressive 2012. Some of the brightest young defensive linemen in the league constitute the front three in the form of Corey Liuget, Cam Thomas and Kendall Reyes. At inside linebacker, the team’s second-leading tackler each of the past two seasons returns in Donald Butler. He’ll be lined up alongside Notre Dame Heisman Trophy finalist Manti Te’o, the team’s second-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft. At outside linebacker, veteran strong-side linebacker Jarret Johnson is joined by future Hall-of-Fame veteran Dwight Freeney, the Indianapolis Colts’ all-time sacks leader. In the secondary, Derek Cox and Shareece Wright man the cornerback slots while 2012’s leading tackler Eric Weddle anchors the safety position alongside Marcus Gilchrist.
On Defense for the Seahawks
Defensively, Seattle’s six leading tacklers from 2012 all return, including top tackler Bobby Wagner (140) and cornerback Richard Sherman, who tied for second in the NFL with eight interceptions. The Seahawks defense in 2012 was the best in franchise history. They allowed 306.3 yards per game, ranking fourth in the NFL, while they ranked first in points allowed with a franchise low 245 scored against.
Thursday night’s match marks the 12th all-time preseason meeting against Seattle. The Seahawks lead the series, 7-4. These former AFC West rivals have met 49 times in the regular season with Seattle owning a 26‐23 advantage.
By the Numbers
In 2012, the Chargers ranked 31st in total offense (297.2 yards per game), 24th in passing (205.9 ypg), 27th in rushing (91.3 ypg) and 20th in points (21.9). The Seahawks ranked 17th in total offense (350.6 ypg), 27th in passing (189.4 ypg), third in rushing (161.2 ypg) and ninth in points (25.8)
Defensively, the Bolts ranked ninth in total defense (326.4 ypg), 18th in passing (230.1 ypg), sixth in rushing (96.4 ypg) and 16th in points allowed (21.9). Seattle ranked fourth in total defense (306.2 ypg), sixth in passing (203.1 ypg), 10th in rushing (103.1 ypg) and first in points allowed (15.3).
Wide receiver Deon Butler was a third-round pick by Seattle in 2009 and he played his first four seasons with the Seahawks before signing with the Chargers in April.
Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst played for the Seahawks from 2010-11 after being traded in 2010.
Chargers strength and conditioning coach Kent Johnston spent the 1999-03 seasons in the same capacity in Seattle.
Linebacker Donald Butler played collegiately at the University of Washington.
Offensive lineman Stephen Schilling is a native of Bellevue, Wash. (Bellevue High School).
Secondary coach Ron Milus is a native of Tacoma, Wash. and he played cornerback for the University of Washington in the mid-1980s. He later coached eight seasons (1991-98) at the University of Washington.
Terry Wooden, brother of Chargers’ director of player personnel, JoJo Wooden, played linebacker for the Seahawks for seven seasons.
Senior executive Randy Mueller spent 17 years in the Seahawks’ football operations department.
A Look Back at 2012
Antonio Gates caught seven touchdown passes to raise his career total to 83 and became the franchise’s all-time leader in that category, surpassing Hall of Fame wide receiver Lance Alworth. Gates extended his streak of at least seven touchdown catches to nine seasons.
Philip Rivers passed for 3,606 yards and 26 touchdowns to extend his team-record streaks of 3,500-yards passing sea and 25 touchdowns to five seasons. Only five quarterbacks in NFL history can claim five or more consecutive seasons with at least 25 touchdown passes. That list includes Peyton Manning (1998-2012), Brett Favre (1994- 98), Dan Marino (1984-88), Drew Brees (2006-12) and Aaron Rodgers (2008-12). Rivers also passed John Hadl’s career yardage total during the season to become the second-most prolific passer in team history. Rivers finished the season with the NFL’s seventh-best completion percentage (64.1) and he is the team’s career leader in that category (63.6).
Danario Alexander joined the team midway through the 2012 season and quickly became one of the NFL’s most productive receivers, hauling in 37 passes for 658 yards and seven touchdowns in just 10 games. His seven touchdown catches all came after Nov. 1 and they were tied for the third-most in the NFL after that date. The only players with more were Dallas’ Dez Bryant (10) and Denver’s Eric Decker (eight).
Malcom Floyd caught a career-high 56 passes and was closing in on a new season high for yards before an ankle injury sidelined him the last two games.
Ronnie Brown caught a career-high 49 passes. As a team, Chargers’ running backs caught 123 passes this season, second in the NFL only to New Orleans’ 140.
The Chargers’ defense had a team record-tying 11 sacks in a Dec. 23 win against the New York Jets, including 3.5 from rookie Kendall Reyes, the most by a Chargers rookie since 1986, and two from Corey Liuget. Reyes, the team’s second-round draft pick in 2012, finished the year third on the team with 5.5 sacks, while Liuget, the squad’s top pick in the 2011 draft, finished the year second on the squad with seven. For the season, Reyes paced the defensive line with 19 quarterback pressures and 15 quarterback hits, while Liuget ended the year as the defensive line’s leader in sacks, tackles (61), tackles for loss (15) and passes defensed (9).
Eric Weddle led the team in tackles (111) for the first time in his career and he tied for the team lead with three interceptions. The Chargers scored a total of seven defensive touchdowns in 2012, second in the NFL to Chicago’s 12, and two shy of the San Diego team record. The 1961 Chargers returned nine interceptions for touchdowns to set the mark while last year the Bolts returned five interceptions and two fumbles for scores.
The Chargers were in virtually every game they played in 2012. Their seven wins came by an average of 13.4 points, while all but two losses were close. Only defeats to Atlanta and Carolina were by margins greater than 11 points, while San Diego’s other defeats were by margins of 7, 11, 1, 10, 3, 3 and 7 points.
Thanks to the powerful right leg of Mike Scifres and his pin-point accuracy, the Chargers allowed only 9.1 yards per punt return in 2012. Scifres posted a 40.6- yard net punting average, the second-highest season average in team history. It went along nicely with a team record 48.3-yard gross average that was third in the NFL and shattered the previous team mark of 46.7 (min. 50 attempts), which Scifres had set in 2010.
Nick Novak made 18 of 20 field goals in 2012, the third-highest conversion rate for a season (90.0%) in team history. Novak’s only two misses this season were also his longest attempts of the year from 54 and 55 yards.
CBS (KFMB, Channel 8 in San Diego and KCBS, Channel 2 in Los Angeles and Orange County) – Dan Fouts (play-by-play) and Billy Ray Smith (analyst)
Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA Sports 1360 AM (San Diego) and AM 570 KLAC (Los Angeles & Orange County) – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Hank Bauer (analyst) and Mike Costa (Reporter)
Spanish Radio –XHFG 107.3 (San Diego) and KWKW 1330 AM (Los Angeles) – Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Dante Lazcano (analyst) Read