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Five Lessons from the Cardinals Game

Posted Aug 29, 2014

Here are your weekly five lessons from the past week's game.

Here are five lessons we learned from Thursday’s 12-9 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

1. An Encouraging Preseason – What did Head Coach Mike McCoy like about the San Diego Chargers preseason?  It turns out quite a bit.  McCoy was upbeat speaking about everything the team accomplished from the first snap against the Dallas Cowboys through the final kneel down against the Arizona Cardinals:

“There are always going to be ups and downs without a doubt.  There are things you can look at week in and week out, and that will be the same way during the season.  But it’s great to see some players.  You see the growth from week to week.  (We) mentioned earlier Ryan Carrethers and the growth he’s made.  He did some things again yesterday that were an improvement.  And you see the way the team is gelling together.  It’s always different.  There are different reasons and you play different guys…Just really seeing the growth of the football team and the way the coaches are adjusting.  I think (Offensive Coordinator) Frank (Reich) did an outstanding job calling (plays) for the first time here.  For four weeks you can see the way he called it and the tempo he called it at, it’s a smooth transition.”

2. Clean Up Time
– While pleased overall, there are still many areas the team needs to improve upon as they head into the season opener in Arizona.  Even though the vast majority of starters didn’t suit up last night, it all starts with cleaning up the mistakes made in the 12-9 win.  In fact, McCoy hammered this point home as he detailed the week ahead leading into the Monday night tilt:

“There are some things we obviously (need) to clean up from this past game and what we want to do.  With the players that played in the game, we’ve got to make sure number one we clean those things up in the next couple days.  Then it’s going to be gradually moving into Arizona week like we normally do.  We’ve got a couple extra days to get ahead on some film, and you never can know your opponent (enough).  You’ve got to study and watch as much film as we can.”

Position Flexibility a Must – The San Diego Chargers are in the midst of reducing their roster to the mandated 53-man maximum.  In the course of their evaluations, one major factor that will go a long way toward determining who makes the cut and plays an important role is position flexibility. According to McCoy, the ability to pinch in when called upon for a number of different areas is absolutely vital.  He brought up the phrase numerous times with the media on Friday.  For example, see what he had to say about Chris Watt to see how important position flexibility is to the Bolts:

“(He’s) a smart player that has the position flexibility that you love that we’re always going to talk about.  Whether it’s left guard, right guard or playing center, he’ll be able to play all three spots for us as we move forward.  He’ll get plenty of work during the week at both those spots.”

4. A High Accountability Standard –
 What does it take to be a San Diego Charger?   From Philip Rivers on down, the Bolts have a standard of excellence which includes a tireless work ethic and passion for the game.  As such, McCoy has high standards he holds every player accountable to:

“We’ve set a standard here in how we want to play.  The coordinators have laid the foundation, and everybody knows it’s clear how we want to play offense, defense and special teams.  You’ve got a job to do.  You’ve got 52 other teammates who you’ll be held accountable too.  So it’s not a matter of leeway; it’s about doing your job.”

5. Time to Make Tough Decisions –
Intense discussions are going on behind closed doors throughout Chargers Park as McCoy, General Manager Tom Telesco and other key decision makers determine who will make the final 53-man roster.  While the players will be evaluated for their production over the course of the entire offseason, the head coach did note how their performance Thursday night will be a part of the puzzle:

“We have some tough decisions to make. After watching the game from the sideline, you can tell some guys stepped up and helped themselves out.  But as an organization we’ll meet in the next few days and find the best 53 guys and move it forward.  Then find a few guys to help us on the practice squad.  But I’m proud of the way the guys worked… We’re trying to find the best 53.  That was our number one goal coming out of this game, to find the best players to help our team win in the regular season.  That’s what it’s all about.  It’s about winning.”



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