The first game of the preseason should never be the sole barometer for which to judge the remainder of the games.
But, it's a good test to where the team is right now, and one that can be used to plot out the next three contests before the regular season starts on Sept. 9.
Just ask Chargers Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, who despite the "sloppy" play at times, walked away from the 24-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals encouraged by what he saw from parts of his offense.
"I think there were a lot of good things, but we were sloppy in some areas, which you expect to have happened when you have a lot of different guys playing in a lot of different situations," Whisenhunt said. "We kept the ball a long time. We were fairly effective in a number of areas. You just want to clear those things up and continue to improve."
As Whiz attested, the Chargers were efficient in a number of areas. They dominated time of possession, holding the ball more than 10 minutes longer than the Cardinals.
In addition, a number of pieces on the offense kept things working in their favor. Geno Smith had the offense moving, throwing for 218 yards and a touchdown in his debut with the Bolts. And the game saw standout performances from players like Geremy Davis.
The wide receiver, who has bounced around between the active roster and practice squad throughout the past three seasons, has had an impressive training camp. He's looking to parlay his work into a solidified spot on the team's 53-man roster come September. On Saturday, he finished with four receptions for 88 yards, highlighted by show-stopping touchdown that was essentially the play of the game.
Whisenhunt isn't surprised by number 11's success, and attributes it to the guys he's around with virtually all day, every day.
"(Davis) has gotten better," he said. "I think that's the natural progression when you're with a group of receivers like the ones that we have. Tyrell (Williams), Travis (Benjamin) and Keenan (Allen) are all really tremendous pros. They set the standard as far as being able to play different positions, doing a lot of different tasks. When you have a guy like Geremy exposed to that, you better adapt to what they do or you're going to stand out in a negative way. He's done that (adaption). He has worked hard. He is a guy that you always see on the field after (practice) working on things. He's always in the office trying to get better. It's good to see him make some plays in a game like that, and see that hard work pay off for him."
The offense saw the backup quarterbacks take the field last week, but this Saturday, Philip Rivers will make his preseason debut working with the first-team offense. While he's had a good camp, it's the action he'll get against Seattle that will set the tone before the regular season "dress rehearsal" rolls around in Week 3.
"Playing with the first unit is a chance to get them together and actually see them operate," Whiz said. "In the scrimmages that we've had and the things that we've done, we have had some good competition and done some good things. The next step is to do it in the game, especially getting snaps from the center. It will be the first time in live-action that he has gotten snaps from (Mike) Pouncey, which is an important piece of it. It's the next step."