Below are 10 quick-hitting insights entering the Chargers’ preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals:
1) Thursday is a rematch of last season’s preseason opener. Wide receiver Geremy Davis had four catches for 88 yards and a touchdown, and running back Detrez Newsome added a six-yard score in a 24-17 Cardinals win. Los Angeles beat Arizona 45-10 in Week 12 of the regular season.
2) Other performances of note from last year’s preseason matchup in Arizona: Running back Austin Ekeler totaled 64 yards on seven touches, including a 39-yard reception; wide receiver Artavis Scott caught five balls for 44 yards; and cornerback Brandon Facyson had an interception.
3) The Chargers will likely see Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray, who turned 22 years old Wednesday. Los Angeles faced each of the last four Heisman Trophy winners during the 2018 regular season: Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (Week 6), Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (Week 16, Wild Card), Titans running back Derrick Henry (Week 7), and Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (Week 7).
4) Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn is from McKinney, TX, a stone’s throw from Murray’s hometown of Allen, TX. After Tuesday’s practice, Lynn explained that he’s known about Arizona’s young signal-caller for quite some time.
“He grew up 15 minutes from where I grew up, so I’ve known about him all his life,” Lynn said. “I knew his father, so I know he is raised right. He’s a solid young man, but he’s been a winner on every level — high school, college and I don’t see him stopping that in the pros. He’s just a winner.”
5) Lynn and Cardinals first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury both attended Texas Tech University. A running back from 1988-91, Lynn totaled 2,272 scrimmage yards and 22 touchdowns at Texas Tech. Kingsbury, the Red Raiders quarterback from 1999-2002, amassed 12,429 passing yards and 95 touchdowns. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2003 NFL Draft, one season before Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers entered the league.
6) Chargers second-year linebacker Kyzir White and his brother – Cardinals wide receiver Kevin White – will share an NFL field for the first time in their pro careers.
7) L.A. will see a pair of familiar faces in Arizona on Thursday. Defensive tackle Darius Philon started 13 regular-season games for the Chargers in 2018. Linebacker Hayes Pullard appeared in 11 games for the Bolts, including playoffs, last season.
8) After Thursday, the Chargers don’t leave the state of California until Week 2 of the regular season (9/15 at Detroit).
9) Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt returns to Arizona, a place where he spent six seasons as the Cardinals head coach. Whisenhunt led Arizona to Super Bowl XLIII, the franchise’s first-ever appearance on the game’s biggest stage.
10) Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Rivers were drafted No. 3 and No. 4 overall respectively in the 2004 NFL Draft. They are two of seven players from that draft class currently on an NFL roster. Rivers likely won’t see the field Thursday.
“He will be a guy that might be wearing a ball cap,” Lynn said. “I think we have four quarterbacks in camp. We have three good guys that are competing hard and I want to see all three of those guys play.”
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