A new era of Chargers football kicks off at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday when the Bolts host the Seattle Seahawks at StubHub Center. It marks the first time they take the field under Head Coach Anthony Lynn.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
Fresh off another Pro Bowl campaign, Philip Rivers enters his 14th season as the clear-cut leader of the Bolts’ high-flying attack. Number 17 had another standout campaign in 2016, posting the second most TD passes (33) of his career while setting the franchise record in passing yards. In the preseason opener, all eyes will be on Keenan Allen in his first game action since suffering an ACL injury in last year’s season opener. It also marks Melvin Gordon’s return after suffering an injury in Week 13 a year ago.
On Offense for the Seahawks
Entering his sixth season, Russell Wilson is entrenched as one of the league’s most dangerous weapons. Capable of beating you with his arm or his legs, Wilson completed 353 of 546 passes for 4,219 yards and 21 TDs in 2016 while running the ball 72 times for 259 yards and another score. His top wideout is Doug Baldwin, who caught a career-high 95 passes last year for 1,128 yards and seven TDs. Meanwhile, Jimmy Graham remains one of the top tight ends in the game, catching 65 passes for 923 yards and six TDs in 2016.
On Defense for the Chargers
Fans will get their first look at the defense under new coordinator Gus Bradley. How the team transitions to a 4-3 defense will be top of mind, particularly how Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram look as bookend pass rushers at defensive end. Brandon Mebane faces his former team for the first time since joining the Bolts last year, while Tre Boston makes his Chargers debut.
On Defense for the Seahawks
The Chargers face a stiff test right off the bat going against the vaulted Legion of Boom, headlined by Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas. Meanwhile, Cliff Avril is one of the league’s top pass rushers as he enters his 10th NFL season. The defensive end recorded a career-high 11.5 sacks in 2016.
The Chargers are 4-10 all-time against Seattle in the preseason. They’ve faced the Seahawks in four of the last six preseasons, most recently in 2015.
By the Numbers
In 2016, the Chargers ranked 14th in total offense (356.8 yards per game), eighth in passing (262.4 ypg), 26th in rushing (94.4 ypg) and ninth in points (25.6). The Seahawks ranked 12th in total offense (357.2 ypg), 10th in passing (257.8 ypg), 25th in rushing (99.4 ypg) and 18th in points (22.1).
Defensively, the Bolts ranked 16th in total defense (347.1 ypg), 20th in passing (249.2 ypg), 10th in rushing (97.9 ypg) and 29th in points allowed (26.4). Seattle ranked fifth in total defense (318.7 ypg), eighth in passing (225.8 ypg), seventh in rushing (92.2 ypg) and third in points allowed (18.2).
New to the Roster
The Chargers boast 35 new players in 2017, with the majority set to take the field against the Seahawks. Russell Okung, Cardale Jones, Kenjon Barner and Tre Boston are veterans set to make their Bolts’ debut, while rookies Dan Feeney, Rayshawn Jenkins, Desmond King, Sam Tevi and Isaac Rochell figure to represent the draft class.
Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn (1995-96) and Chargers Assistant Head Coach George Stewart (1996) played for Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll and Assistant Defensive Line Coach Dwaine Board in San Francisco.
Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley served as Seattle’s Defensive Coordinator from 2009-12. Meanwhile, Bradley served as Head Coach for OG Luke Joeckel at the Jacksonville Jaguars (2013-16).
ILB Korey Toomer played on the Seattle Seahawks from 2012-13.
TE Sean McGrath was on the Seattle Seahawks roster for one season (2012).
CB Trovon Reed played in Seattle for the 2015 season.
OT Russell Okung played on the Seattle Seahawks from 2010-15 along with Chargers NT Brandon Mebane who played in Seattle from 2007-15.
WR Jatavis Brown and Seahawks DT Rodney Coe were teammates at Akron in 2014-15.
NT Damion Square was Alabama teammates with Seahawks RB Eddie Lacy (2009-12).
QB Mike Bercovici was a part of the 2012-15 Arizona State roster with Seahawks SS Jordan Simone.
Chargers RB Melvin Gordon and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (2011) were teammates at Wisconsin alongside Seahawks WR Tanner McEvoy (2013-14).
KABC-TV/NFL Network – Spero Dedes (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst) and Alex Flanagan (sideline)
KFI-AM 640 – Matt “Money” Smith (play-by-play), Nick Hardwick (analyst) and Shannon Farren (sideline)
*Spanish Radio: KFWB – AM 980 *- Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Tony Alvarez (analyst)
Chargers radio broadcasts throughout the season will be able to be heard across nine radio stations from Southern California to Nevada. Fans can listen in English on KGB-FM and KLSD AM (San Diego), KNWZ (Palm Springs), KNWH-FM (Yucca Valley), KRLV-FM (Las Vegas), KRAK-AM (Victorville/Hesperia), KATY-FM (San Bernardino) and KPLY-AM (Reno). Spanish broadcasts can be heard on XHFG-FM (San Diego).