Here are five keys to the game heading into the preseason opener between the San Diego Chargers and Seattle Seahawks:
1. Make a Statement – Head coach Mike McCoy released a depth chart earlier this week, but according to him, it doesn’t mean much. Everyone who marches out on the field on Thursday will have an opportunity to make a statement, either by solidifying a spot on the final roster or laying claim to a significant role. Here is what McCoy had to say:
“The depth chart is a piece of paper right now. And we told the football team, I had to put something down. As a staff, Ken Whisenhunt, John Pagano, and with return kickers and returners Kevin Spencer, (we) had to put something on paper. But in the next month it’s going to play itself out. Obviously you lose Danario (Alexander) yesterday, so the depth chart changes. You never know when that’s going to be. Someone’s going to step up tomorrow night, and we’re going to think, ‘Okay let’s move this guy up or let’s move this guy back.’ So it’s going to be changing constantly and we’re going to try to find the best 53 come the opener.”
2. Execution – This was one of McCoy’s major talking points when he addressed the media earlier this week. He wants to see his team stay true to the system and execute in the proper manner. This applies to all three sides of the ball - the offense, defense and special teams. Obviously you want to win every game you play in, but just as important to the final outcome in a preseason game is how the team executes.
3. Play Fast – Discussing Thursday’s game with reporters on Wednesday, McCoy said he wants the team to play an uptempo brand of ball. In his own words::
“Really the key thing is to see guys fly around and play fast. And just trust the system. That’s the key thing. Just do your job. You’re going to get physically beat from time to time. But just go out and play your tails off every snap and make the most of every opportunity because it’s an unfortunate deal but we’re only going to be able to pick 53.”
4. Capitalize on Scoring Opportunities – Last year the Seattle Seahawks led the league with a franchise-low 245 points against. As such, the Chargers will need to capitalize on whatever scoring opportunities they are given. It would also be an encouraging sign to see
5. Stop the Run – Between quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch, Seattle boasted one of the most versatile and effective ground attacks in the NFL in 2012. They ranked third in the league in rushing, averaging 161.2 yards per game. However, run defense was a strong point for the Bolts ranking sixth in the league, surrendering only 96.4 ypg. Whoever wins the battle on the ground could play a significant role in who ends up victorious.
Have your own key to the game? Leave it in the comments below!