We're only three hours away from the kickoff of the 2012 San Diego Chargers (pre)Season! The Green Bay Packers are in town to play football and ESPN is in town to film and broadcast the game for you. Here's what you should be watching for during the game:
Watching rookies get their first taste of NFL action is always fun. When those rookies are part of the first-team unit and are taking on the other team's first-teamers, it's even better. I can say that, without question, Ryan Mathews' preseason performance during his rookie year was some of the most fun I've ever had watching football.
With Jared Gaither and Jarret Johnson out with injuries, the two most talked about rookies at Chargers Park will get their chance as starters in their first ever NFL game.
Mike Harris will be the team's starting LT and, while Norv has promised to give the kid plenty of help, will play most of the time with the second-team as well. He needs all the snaps he can get in a pro-style offense.
Melvin Ingram, the team's first-round draft pick, will be asked to do everything. The team is planning on using him mostly as a pass-rusher during the season, but this will be a great way for him to show the team that they maybe don't need to limit him during his rookie season.
Other rookies that should be watched because they will probably make the team include Kendall Reyes, Ladarius Green and Brandon Taylor.
Free Agent Signings
More of the new guys. They're like the rookies in that you want to see how quickly they're picking up the system, but they're unlike them in that we know how we can expect them to perform against NFL-level talent.
This list includes Ronnie Brown, Robert Meachem, Jackie Battle, Aubrayo Franklin, Rex Hadnot, Roscoe Parrish, Micheal Spurlock, Atari Bigby, Le'Ron McClain, Dante Rosario, Mario Henderson and probably a few others that are unlikely to make the final roster cut.
The New New Guys
These are the guys that have been signed due to injury. The most notable one is probably OT Anthony Davis, but throw Kevin O'Connell in there too. These guys are long-shots to make the team, but that doesn't mean that they can't win a spot with a couple of fantastic games and some poor luck for the guys ahead of them on the depth chart. How quickly they can pick things up (O'Connell's had a few days, Davis has had one day) will be crucial.
Training Camp Battles
I did a video on the most important position battles for the 2012 San Diego Chargers this preseason. In case you haven't watched it yet, here it is:
The follow-up post to that video, published about a week ago, can be found here. I'll do another update to the training camp battles tomorrow, including everything that's happened in practice this last week and anything that transpires in this evening's game.
It's Preseason for all of us, even the BFTB community. For those that have been around, I expect you around during tonight's OT to knock some of the rust off.
For you newbies, I'll explain what an Open Thread is as simply as I can. It's using the comment section here at BFTB to live-chat with other Chargers fans while watching the game. Things can sometimes get a little rowdy, and a little ridiculous, in there but it's always fun. Really, it's the easiest way to watch the game with 50 or 100 other like-minded Chargers fans.