Before the San Diego Chargers open the regular season in the Arizona desert, they’ll host the Cardinals at Qualcomm stadium to close out the preseason. Tickets still remain with kickoff set for 7:00pm.
A Look Back At Last Week
Despite falling 21-7 to the San Francisco 49ers, the Bolts were encouraged by the play of their starters.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
It’s a battle to make the final 53-man roster as Thursday night’s affair marks one last chance to impress the Bolts brass. There will also be certain areas Head Coach Mike McCoy would like to see the team improve. Chief among them are short-yardage situations and third-down efficiency. While they led the NFL in third down conversions in 2013, they struggled on Sunday, succeeding on just 4-of-14 attempts.
On Offense for the Cardinals
When you think of the Arizona Cardinals, odds are the first player that pops into your mind is Larry Fitzgerald. Arguably the top player in franchise history, the wide receiver is currently the team’s longest tenured player after being selected in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. Carson Palmer makes the offense tick, helping the team win 10 games last season in his first year in the desert though rookie Logan Thomas should see extensive time.
On Defense for the Chargers
On Defense for the Cardinals
Led by Patrick Peterson, one of the top young cornerbacks in the game, Arizona boasts a hungry, disruptive defense from top to bottom. Meanwhile, Tyrann Mathieu was recently activated from the PUP list. While it would be surprising to see him on the field Thursday night, the energetic safety is hopeful to suit up in the regular season opener.
This will be the 21st preseason meeting all-time between the Chargers and Cardinals. The Bolts lead the series, 11-9, and have won five straight over the Cardinals, including a 24-7 win at Arizona in Week 3 of the preseason in 2013. The teams have also played 12 times in the regular season with the Bolts holding a 9-3 series edge.
The Last Regular Season Meeting
The Chargers scored 21 points off turnovers and rolled to a 41-10 home victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 3, 2010. San Diego held a 28-7 lead at halftime in a game which they outgained Arizona 419 to 124 in total net yards while dominating time of possession 34:58 to 25:02. Other than a fumble return for a touchdown, San Diego’s defense held the Cardinals off the scoreboard until they kicked a field goal with 3:17 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Chargers had nine sacks in the game, their most since a nine-sack effort at Kansas City Dec. 2, 2007. The 31-point margin was the team’s largest since a 52-21 win over Denver Dec. 28, 2008.
By the Numbers
In 2013, the Chargers ranked fifth in total offense (393.3 yards per game), fourth in passing (270.5 ypg), 13th in rushing (122.8 ypg) and 12th in points (24.8). The Cardinals ranked 12th in total offense (346.4 ypg), 13th in passing (250.1 ypg), 23rd in rushing (96.2 ypg) and 16th in points (23.7).
Defensively, the Bolts ranked 23rd in total defense (366.5 ypg), 29th in passing (258.7 ypg), 12th in rushing (107.8 ypg) and 11th in points allowed (21.8). Arizona ranked sixth in total defense (317.4 ypg), 14th in passing (233.0 ypg), first in rushing (84.4 ypg) and seventh in points allowed (20.2).
Special Teams Coordinator Kevin Spencer joined the Chargers from Arizona where he spent the 2007-12 seasons in the same capacity.
Secondary coach Ron Milus spent the 2003 season coaching defensive backs in Arizona.
Offensive coordinator Frank Reich coached the Cardinals’ wide receivers in 2012.
Defensive quality control coach Chad Grimm spent the 2009-12 seasons as an offensive quality control coach with the Cardinals. He is the son of former Cardinals offensive line coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Russ Grimm.
Cardinals cornerback Antonio Cromartie was the Chargers’ first-round pick in 2006. He played for the Bolts from 2006-09.
Quarterback Carson Palmer, a native of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., attended USC and he owns a home in Del Mar.
Tight end Andre Hardy is from San Diego and he attended St. Augustine High School and Cal State Fullerton.
Safety Tony Jefferson is from Chula Vista and attended Eastlake High School.
CBS* (KFMB, Channel 8 in San Diego and KCBS, Channel 2 in Los Angeles and Orange County)– Dan Fouts (play-by-play), Billy Ray Smith (analyst)
Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA Sports 1360 (San Diego) and AM 570 KLAC (Los Angeles & Orange County) – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Jim Laslavic (analyst), Mike Costa (reporter)
Spanish Radio –XHFG 107.3 (San Diego) and KWKW 1330 AM (Los Angeles) – Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Dante Lazcano (analyst)
All Chargers radio broadcasts are now being streamed live on the team’s official website, www.chargers.com. XTRA Sports 1360 Broadcasts with Josh Lewin (play-by-play) and Hank Bauer (analyst) will begin two hours before kickoff and continue for 90 minutes of postgame coverage after the game ends.
* Shown on Tape Delay