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Five Lessons from the 49ers Game
Here are five lessons we learned from Thursday night’s 41-6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
1. “Tough Way to Finish” –Credit Mike McCoy for not mincing words; the head coach was not happy with the way his team performed in the preseason finale. While there were some positives from the game, overall it was a disappointing end to a preseason that saw the Bolts finish with a 1-3 record:
"It’s a tough way to finish to be honest with you. This was a bad taste. Obviously you never want to lose, you never feel good after a loss, regardless of what kind of game. So we didn’t play very well today. We made way too many mistakes, offense, defense, special teams. We need to learn from them and move on.”
2. Building Depth– With the vast majority of starters sitting out the game, the Chargers got a good look at the depth of the roster. As players looking to carve out a niche on the team, playing nearly an entire game provided invaluable experience. After the game, McCoy spoke about the Chargers depth:
“Everyone’s got issues on a football team. That’s why you have your starters and that’s the way you’ve got to build depth on the football team. That’s what everyone is trying to do right now. So we’re going to do whatever we can to improve this football team, that’s our job, Tom (Telesco) and myself, we’re going to do whatever we can to get the best 53 here and that’s all part of it. I think everyone at this point in time during the preseason, they look at their backups and you always wish you had more of your starter quality players, but that’s what this league is all about. It’s about developing players.
3. The Best 53– Next up on McCoy and Telesco’s plate is to evaluate that depth. Over the next 24 hours, the Chargers brain trust will need to pare the roster down from 75 to 53 men. Here is what McCoy said about making those tough decision:
“We’ll go back and evaluate the football game and really look at it and look at every play. We have some decisions to make. Some guys probably helped themselves and some guys hurt themselves. That’s every football game you play. So we’ll sit down as a staff and find the best future for our football team.”
4. Green Adds Depth– As noted last night, Ladarius Green has been a bright spot this preseason, and that continued with another strong game against the 49ers. He finished with a team-high five catches for 49 yards. For the preseason, he led the team in catches (13), receiving yards (210) and touchdowns (two). The emergence of the second-year tight end adds another weapon to Philip Rivers’ arsenal as Green joins Antonio Gates and John Phillips to form an outstanding tight end trio. Just like the fans, McCoy has taken notice:
“He’s really done a nice job ever since the OTA’s. He’s a talented young player that’s got some potential for us. He’s got a great guy to learn from. So you see the way (Antonio) Gates practices every day and the way he does things, so I think he’s following his lead. Seeing the way he runs routes, he talks to him a lot of times and you see the communication. He got off to a good start tonight which is great to see.”
5. All About Houston – McCoy has emphasized taking things one week and one game at a time. That next step includes preparing for the regular season opener against the Houston Texans. Following the final preseason game, the entire Chargers roster reiterated their head coach’s message, as evidenced by Derek Cox:
“Just like our head coach said, now the games start to count for real. So our mindset is focusing on that next step which is the season. We learned a lot as a team. The main thing is how we came out as a group and worked hard to get better every day. The things we want to harp on are technique, fundamentals and effort. Those things were obviously emphasized and accomplished during camp.”
Dwight Freeney agreed:
“We’ve just got to get ready for that first game. It’s all about Houston right now. Preseason is over with and it’s all about Houston and preparing for them.” Read