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Player Reactions to Rare Preseason Slate
When the preseason schedule was announced on Wednesday, what stood out the most was how the Chargers face three teams they’ll also play in the regular season. That is nearly unheard of.
The last time the Bolts played the same opponent in the preseason and regular season came in 2010 against the San Francisco 49ers. Meanwhile, the last time the team played as many as three similar opponents was 12 years ago in 2002, when they squared off against all four NFC West teams twice.
This rarity was not lost on the Chargers when they first learned of the exhibition slate. According to Jeromey Clary, who is entering his ninth preseason, this will be a totally new experience for the veteran guard. However, it is one he is embracing and feels will be beneficial to the team.
“I really think it is going to be helpful for later on in the regular season because we’re going to be getting a little preview of them,” he said. “Some guys you might not have ever played against, so you are getting an appetizer of what’s to come. It’s also great because sometimes in the preseason you face schemes that aren’t what you’ll face in the regular season. So to have three weeks of something we’ll see during the regular season will be very helpful.”
Ryan Mathews is of the same mindset as Clary. He is approaching the games like he does the first match against AFC West rivals in that he’s playing to win, but it’s also important to learn more about the opponent for the next time around.
“This gives us a chance to know those guys a little bit better,” he said. “It’s just like when we play Denver, Kansas City and Oakland. This gives us more of a chance to study them and get ready for the next time we face them.”
Brad Sorensen will be entering his second preseason, and while he believes playing against the three NFC West teams will be helpful, he also thinks they will be more conservative in their schemes as to not give too much away.
“I think especially if you know you are playing teams you’ll see in the regular season, you aren’t going to be showing much,” he said. “It will be good to get a head start on their personnel though. That will be very helpful in terms of their strengths and weaknesses, but in terms of scheme I don’t think they’ll show too much.”
Meanwhile, Donald Butler doesn’t have a passionate stance on the rarity; he is just trying to wrap his head around how bizarre it is.
“It’s really weird,” he said. “I guess we just roll with it. I don’t have too much to really say about it besides how different it is. It’s definitely weird to me, but we’ll be ready and it will be good. It’s kind of weird too to play in San Francisco twice. I’m looking forward to that for the brand new stadium. That’s going to be pretty fun.”