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Chargers Drop Cowboys 31-17 In Preseason Opener

The first series for both the starting defense and offense looked good, but unfortunately the game lasted longer than the first series for both teams.  After stuffing the Chargers’ first-team offense, led by an early sack by Tank Johnson, the Cowboys’ offense promptly marched down the field for an early 7-0 lead.  Romo and Barber were impressive in the series as well as Jason Witten and Patrick Crayton.  FB Derek Anderson scored from 2-yards out after an impressive 54-yard drive on Dallas’ first possession.  Terrell Owens was strangely absent from the action and never had a pass thrown his way during the series.

Things would go downhill quickly from there though when rookie WR Danny Amendola fumbled the punt after the Chargers were stopped again on their next possession by the defense, and this would lead to a tying touchdown drive, which was assisted greatly by an interference call on Ken Hamlin in the end zone.  This turned out to be an omen for the remainder of the game as once again Dallas committed too many penalties, with three pass intereference calls, and two costly turnovers giving the Chargers a 24-10 half-time lead they would never lose.

But since it was just preseason, let’s get down to the real issues at stake in this contest.  There was much talk of certain players finally getting some real playing time to show their wares, so let’s just do a grade of some of these to see what we really wanted to know about tonight’s performance. 

Adam “Pacman” Jones:  I’d give him a D.  He was burned for a long pass right after entering the game, missed several tackles and was called for pass interference negating a Pat Watkins interception in the second quarter.  Not too much help from him tonight.

Felix Jones:  Most definitely an A.   One of the few highlights of the evening with several good rushes and a couple of catch-and-runs from the backfield.  The pass and YAC he got in the second quarter led to a Nick Folk field-goal and he was impressive.

Mike Jenkins:  Probably a B+.  He was good in coverage and made several tackles when the first team defense was in, but still not enough playing time to really see if he’s the next Terrence Newman.  Good game for him though.

Zach Thomas:  I’d also give him a B.  Made some tackles early on and one was behind the line of scrimmage on a very fast and tricky Darren Sproles for the Chargers.  He may still have what it takes to be a good LB in the NFL.

Other Rookie Notables:  Of the remaining draft picks and rookies who needed to make something happen to impress the coaches, the person who showed up the biggest tonight was RB Tashard Choice.  Choice made some tough runs and scored on a 15+ yard run up the middle in the third quarter.  He also showed some prowess in pass blocking.  Very good outing for him!  Martellus Bennet didn’t have quite the game expected with a dropped pass and some missed blocking assignments, but did have a couple of short catches later in the third quarter before hitting the sidelines.  But the biggest disappointment by far was WR Danny Amendola.  He did show some promise with punt/kick returning, but the early fumble didn’t do much to help his stock rise with the coaching staff.  Plus, he dropped a short pass late in the game. Not much would have come from it, but you can’t make those kinds of mistakes as a rookie free agent. 

Overall, the same problems appear to still be facing this year’s team that hurt them against the Giants.  Penalties and bad special teams coverage.  And strictly my opinion, I would definitely look for another second-string QB.  Brad Johnson was horrible tonight with a pick and several sacks where he simply held the ball too long.  He is simply just much too slow to compete at this level any longer.  Richard Bartel would get my vote for back-up QB at this point.  Again, that’s just my opinion based on one preseason game.

 


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