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Saturday's Playing Time will be a "Gut Feel"
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But head coach Mike McCoy might do it differently. His decision on how long to leave his starting unit out there will be a gut decision.
“It’s more of a gut feel for how we are doing and how things are going,” he said. “It’s just a matter of me having a feeling, during the game, of when we should pull certain players. It will be similar to what we did last week with pulling (Philip Rivers) and putting in Charlie (Whitehurst) and that’s what we’ll do with the whole team.”
In the first preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, the first team offense played one series, driving 74-yards on 12 plays, finishing it off with a field goal. The defense played two series, forcing a punt each time. Last week against the Chicago Bears, the starters played into the second quarter, building off the previous game.
According to Rivers, it doesn’t really matter how much he plays Saturday against the Cardinals. He says he’s done it both ways in the past, coming out relatively early on some occasions while playing into the third on others. In fact, there have been times where he didn’t play at all, including last year’s preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings.
“I think there were times I’ve started in the third quarter in the past,” said the 10-year veteran. “There were other times I came out in the first half. Coach hasn’t said exactly the plan and that plan always can change in the preseason as you get going in the game: how we’re going good, how we’re not going good, how many plays we’ve gotten, did we get a chance to get a two-minute drive at the end of the half, do we want to feel what it feels like coming out in the second half. Obviously that’s going to be up to coach and what he wants to do but we’ve done it both ways.”
No matter how much playing time any player receives, McCoy expects the Chargers to lay it all on the line. For some players, this is their last chance to shine before the first round of cuts comes next week. But McCoy hopes his team doesn’t play with an additional sense of urgency. He expects them to play that way each and every game.
“I hope every week we go out there that we play every play like it’s our last play,” he said. “You never know when your last play will be in this business. We expect them to go out, play and expect to improve every game. I’m going to ask them every game to play their best.”