LA Chargers Will Debut At Denver
September 7, 2017
The LA Chargers ended the 2017 preseason on Thursday Night at San Francisco, losing 23-13 to the 49ers. In a game with very little at stake other than some roster spots, neither team played their starters and both teams were just happy to get the preseason over with and move on to the regular season.
Cardale Jones completed 18 of 24 passes for 158 yards and one interception and finally led the Chargers on a scoring drive (two fieldgoals). But five Charger turnovers ended up resulting in an easy win for the 49ers. As Head Coach Anthony Lynn stated: "Anytime you turn the ball over five times you have no chance of winning."
The days following the final preseason game brought the roster cuts to get down to 53 players. The biggest surprises were the cuts of Safety Dwight Lowery and Kicker Josh Lambo. Lowery was set to earn a salary of $2 million, is 31 and had lost his starting job, but it still was a surprise to see him get cut.
The Chargers chose to save the money and go with younger players. Lambo lost his job to undrafted rookie Younghoe Koo, which was also a surprise move. Koo was an excellent kicker at Georgia Southern, where he made 19/20 field goal attempts his senior year and was selected to the first team All-Conference squad in the Sun Belt Conference in 2016.
There was also some good news in that it appears first round draft pick Mike Williams could be on the field in the next few weeks. Williams was left on the 53-man roster and off the injury list, which would have required Williams to miss a mandatory six games. Williams has been rehabbing a back injury.
Charger GM Tom Telesco said that he is encouraged, but "...it's not only rehabbing the injury, he has to get back and ready in football condition again. Running routes. The timing. Learning the offense and everything like that, so there is still some work in front of him. But obviously it's very encouraging where he is right now." Having Williams in the lineup with the rest of the talented group of receivers the Chargers have put together would be very interesting to watch.
The Chargers openon Monday Night at Denver in a meeting of division rivals. This is a game the Chargers can and really need to win to get the season off to a positive start. The Chargers are healthy and have had plenty of time to prepare for this game. They have not shown much in preseason, so hopefully they will have a few surprises for the Broncos.
The Denver Broncos have a very solid football team, but they are not quite what they were on defense during their march to a Super Bowl Championship two seasons ago. The real difference is at quarterback where Peyton Manning is now in retirement and has been replaced by Trevor Siemian, a quarterback with barely two years of experience. The best Quarterback on the field Monday Night will be Philip Rivers and that should be the difference for a Chargers' road win in Denver.
An opening night win would set the Charger up very well for the upcoming season. After Denver, the Chargers play three straight home games at the Stub Hub Center in Carson. Last season the Chargers got off to a 1-4 start and never really recovered on the way to a 5-11 season. A fast start this season would give the Chargers a shot at being in the mix for a playoff slot.
The Chargers are in a very tough AFC West and cannot afford to get off to another rough start. The Oakland Raiders look strong coming off a 12-4 season in 2016 and the Kansas City Chiefs are also coming off a 12-4 season and division title and they are a well-coached group led by a veteran quarterback in Alex Smith. Getting off to a fast start is imperative in the AFC West. No matter what happens it should be fun to follow the Los Angeles Chargers in 2017.