Preseason openers are always a mixed bag, and there were enough positives in the Chargers’ 24-17 loss to the Cardinals for the Bolts to feel encouraged.
Just don’t tell that to Anthony Lynn.
The head coach was as angry and ticked off as if it were a regular season loss, making it clear he has a high level of expectations each time his team takes the field.
“You could tell that it was definitely preseason week one,” he said. “It was too sloppy. You look at the time of possession and we had the ball 10 minutes longer and we had twice as many yards. Penalties and turnovers will get you beat every time. It doesn’t matter who’s on the field, it was just sloppy football. We’ll go back watch the tape and we’ll learn from this. We’ll figure out where we’re at, where we need to go and that’s what we’ll work on and all the things in between.”
Lynn hit the nail on the head as the Bolts’ “sloppy” play cost them in the end.
The team should have celebrated the fact that the defense didn’t give up a third down conversion all game, which is a feat no NFL team accomplished over the last two preseasons. In addition, Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley’s unit gave up a mere total of 88 net yards of offense in the first half.
On the flip side, Ken Whisenhunt had the offense rolling under Geno Smith. The veteran quarterback had a strong Chargers debut, throwing for 218 yards and one touchdown for an 88.7 passer rating. His 218 passing yards rank second among all quarterbacks in the first week of the preseason.
However, it all went for naught as the team committed a whopping 15 penalties for 155 yards while turning it over four times.
“That’s something we improved on last year; the penalties and the turnovers,” Lynn said. “Like I just told the guys, it doesn’t matter how much you dominate a team. If you lose in those two ways, it’s going to be a long night. And it was long. Those penalties were spread through the locker room. It wasn’t just one position. It was special teams. It was offense. It was defense. We had an opportunity to get some turnovers and we did not take advantage of those. I would probably say the penalties pissed me off the most.”
While it’s on the players to shore that area up, Lynn was quick to place the blame on himself and the rest of the staff.
“I put it on myself and my coaching staff,” he said. “We just have to get better. These guys have to get used to playing in NFL games at full speed. We have to get them caught up and caught up quickly. I expect to see them improve right away.”
View the best of the Chargers as they take on the Arizona Cardinals in their first preseason game.