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Keys to the Game: Chargers vs. Cardinals

Posted Aug 23, 2013

Here are five keys to the game between the San Diego Chargers and Arizona Cardinals.

Here are five keys to the game heading into Saturday night’s match between the San Diego Chargers and Arizona Cardinals:

1. Show Progress –The third preseason game has traditionally seen the starters play more snaps than any other.  Whether that is true for the Chargers this year remains to be seen, but no matter how much playing time they receive, they need to show progress as the regular season is right around the corner.  Here is what Mike McCoy had to say:

“I think the most important thing every week is to improve as an entire football team. You want to make sure the guys aren’t making the same mistakes they’ve made over the last few weeks. Now we’re at the point in time where it’s getting close to the season and we don’t have time to correct the same mistakes. You can’t wait four or five days to correct those things. We have to correct it on the practice field or during the first quarter of the game so the next time it comes up we can hit it in the mouth.”

 

2.       Protect the Football– In the past two weeks, the Chargers have played two of the top defenses in the league in 2012. Now, they face one of the hottest performing defenses of the preseason.  The Cardinals shut out the Green Bay Packers in their first game and then caused six turnovers last week against the Cowboys.   Overall, they have forced eight turnovers in two games.  Committing fewer turnovers is something McCoy said is a point of emphasis this season:

“The biggest way I hope we’re different this year is we win more games and we have less turnovers. Other than that, we’re going to try to continue doing a lot of the same things that we’ve done. Just get the ball to our guys that can make plays and go score some touchdowns.”

 

3.       A Downhill Ground Game– A bright spot for the Bolts this preseason has been the way Ryan Mathews and the running backs have run the ball. The Chargers rank in the upper half of the league, averaging 107.5 yards per game. However, the Cards have a stingy run defense, giving up the fourth fewest yards on the ground per game of any team this preseason (66.5).  As far as McCoy is concerned, running downhill is key:

“We’ve talked about the way we’re going to run the ball and the style of offense. We’re going to run the ball downhill with no minus plays. It’s very similar to the quarterback; take what they give you. Don’t be bouncing it and running sideways getting minus yards. We want to keep pounding the ball and go downhill.”

 

4. “Work to Stay Healthy”– Every team suffers their fair share of injuries over the season, and the Chargers are no exception.  According to McCoy, nothing is more important than the health of the team as he recently stated in his press conference:

“We’ve said since day one the health of the football team is most important. You have to have everyone healthy. There is going to be bumps and bruises throughout the season. That’s part of the game. We’ve emphasized throughout training camp that with the way we practice and the tempo we practice at, we need to take care of each other.”

 

5. Prepare for Short Turnaround– After the Chargers finish the game against the Cardinals, they have a quick turnaround before playing the preseason finale on Thursday against the San Francisco 49ers.  Such a short turnaround could be tough on the body, so the team needs to have the proper preparation heading into the match.  Check out what McCoy had to say:

“We’re going to adjust. Coming into the short week next week you’ve got to make sure you are taking care of everybody (since) they’re playing a lot Saturday (then) coming back Thursday night and playing again. We’ve got a detailed plan of how we’re going to do it but like we’ve done before, we’ll adjust if we have to.”

 

RELATED LINKS
Scouting Report: Chargers vs. Cardinals
Chargers Pre-Game Live

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