Here's what I'm looking for in tonight's game:
- Will Philip Rivers continue to look sharp like he has mastered Norv Turner's passing offense?
- Will the offensive line look crisp in the run game or sloppy and weak like the last preseason game? Did you realize the Chargers ranked 32nd in rushing after week one of the preseason?
- Rookie, Louis Vasquez, out Texas Tech will start at guard. After playing in a mostly quick passing offense in college where you just have to get in the way of the defense for a few seconds, will he be able to run block effectively in the NFL?
- Will LaDanian Tomlinson look more like the 2006 version or the 2008 version?
- How well can Antonio Gates run after he catches the ball? Will the toe injury fully heal?
- Can full back Jacob Hestor knock linebackers back at the point of attack?
- Rookie running back Gartrell Johnson did not show much burst in the first game. Was it just nerves and inexperience or were the concerns out of the combines about his lack of speed correct?
- As noted in the Union Tribune this morning, this will be a strong test for the Charger corners and safeties, as the first string is expected to play the entire first half. Has Antonio Cromartie healed and is his head in the right place this season to return to 2007 form?
- Who will emerge as the favorite at safety in the battle between Clinton Hart, Steve Gregory, and rookie Kevin Ellison? As of now, it appears Gregory has the advantage even though Hart was the starter last year.
- Will Shawne Merriman look improved over his slow and gimpy performance last week? Hint: Watch him and don't be swayed by the overly hopeful analysis of Billy Ray and Ron Pitts, who were very excited by Merriman's phantom "burst" off the line last week that simply was not there.
- Can Jamaican/Canadian rookie, Vaughn Martin, not only push his blocker into the backfield(as he did with regularity last week), but detach from him and make a play on the ball carrier or quarterback?
- Can Kevin Burnett turn in another strong performance and win himself a permanent place at inside linebacker? Last week he was all over the field making tackles. I did not see him stick his nose in and make a play on a run up the middle though and I'll be looking for that this week.
Sadly, we still don't get to see top draft choice, Larry English, play for another week because of a balky hamstring. This injury is starting to look more serious as it limits more and more of his invaluable time out on the field learning how to play defense in the NFL.