Friday, September 4, 2009

Chargers vs. 49rs Preseason Preview

The best thing about tonight's game is that it's the last preseason game and we get to some real football in two weeks (next week against the Raiders doesn't count). This will probably be the least eventful game in terms of seeing much from guys who will play in the regular season and it looks like just about all of the roster decisions have been made as well.

The UT has reported that the Chargers will probably keep full back Mike Tolbert over running back Michael Bennett. While I'm feeling wise and vindicated as this was my original prediction weeks ago, Bennett's recent play has changed my mind. I think they should find a way to keep Bennett. Here's why:

  • With an aging LaDanian Tomlinson and a Shawne Merriman in the last year of his contract, this isn't the year to plan for the future. The Chargers should make the run now and Bennett is capable of making huge plays, while Tolbert is just a back-up and good special teams player who wasn't greatly effective before he got injured last year anyway.

  • Tight End Kris Wilson played a version of full back in Kansas City and can back up as needed.

  • Rookie running back Gartrell Johnson hasn't shown much yet in preseason. With the way he runs straight up and gets popped, he has a greater chance of getting injured as a back- up than LT as a starter. Let Bennett fill that role.

  • Tolbert may be able to be put on reserve on the practice squad without getting picked up, while Bennett will be immediately snatched by a division rival like Denver or even worse, a good team like the Patriots that we'll have to see in the playoffs.

I'm a big fan of AJ Smith, but I hope he doesn't stubbornly stick to preconceived notions here without considering what Bennett might do for us this year.

The only other thing I'm looking for tonight is for Larry English to get some more playing time and see if he can get to the quarterback and get more comfortable in the defense.

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