The San Diego Charger Girls are in mid-season form. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Since the final preseason is much more about individual players than the team, instead of 5 good things we're doing 5 good players this week.
Ryan Mathews: Here's Bam Bam's preseason stats for this season:
24 carries, 187 yards (7.8 Yards/Carry), 2 TDs.
More than 20% of his runs have resulted in first-downs. He has two runs for 40+ yards (after having zero in 2010) and has fumbled once. This is why the San Diego Chargers drafted him, and this is what Mathews did at Fresno State University. He is a big play threat, the type the Chargers haven't seen since 2006. It's really great to see that, despite failing a conditioning test on the first day of training camp, Mathews is still on-pace to reach his first-round potential.
I thought Mathews being in the game last night was a message from Norv Turner. "Mike Tolbert is going to sit, we know what he is. Mathews, you are still in my doghouse. Show me something." Ryan's response, 78 yards on 5 carries, was exactly what Turner was hoping for. Mathews and Norv can head into the season confident in the running game now.
Marcus Gilchrist: It's really nice to see that the young guys came through with their extended playing time last night. Gilchrist got credit for one interception, but deserves credit for both times the Chargers picked off Colin Kaepernick. The second time came off of a Gilchrist deflection that bounced right into the capable hands of Dante Hughes. Marcus also added two tackles to his line, and removed any doubt that he wasn't ready to be the starting nickel CB against the Vikings in week 1.
Corey Liuget: For the first time in quite some time, a Chargers defensive first-round pick appears to be living up to the hype. Playing on a line of mostly backups, Corey continues to rack up big plays. He finished the preseason with 10 tackles, 2 sacks and a forced fumble. If he can finish the season with 40 tackles, 8 sacks and 4 forced fumbles (it's 4 times longer than the preseason, you see), Liuget will be in the running for defensive rookie of the year honors and the Chargers will have one of the most dominant defenses in the league.
Laurent Robinson: "LaRon" (seems like the perfect nickname, no?) had the game that many were hoping Bryan Walters or Vincent Brown would have. 6 catches for 120 yards, and some fancy catches at that. Is it enough for him to make the team? Probably not, but it'll probably be enough for him to land a job as a 3rd or 4th option elsewhere in the NFL.
Seyi Ajirotutu: I was torn if this last one should be Tutu or Scott Tolzien, but Seyi was the guy that has been at the top of my list since Saturday of who needed to have a big game against the 49ers. He needed to prove that he could still get open, and he did just that. He finished with 5 catches for 41 yards and the Chargers' only receiving TD on the day. If he was on the bubble of guys who could get cut, I think he got off of it with his fine performance against San Francisco.