The San Diego Chargers improved to 3-0 in the preseason this year when they defeated the Minnesota Vikings 12-10. San Diego’s starting quarterback Philip Rivers did not play in last night’s game, but he is not suffering from an injury. The Chargers also rested starting tight end Antonio Gates as he and Rivers were two of 17 players who did not participate in last night’s game.
It is no secret that the Lightning Bolts will only go as far as Rivers takes them in 2012. Rivers is one of two quarterbacks who threw for at least 4,000 yards from 2008-2011 the other being his predecessor Drew Brees. Rivers did not miss a start from 2006-2011 while his teammates missed a significant amount of games during this time.
Shawne Merriman was able to lead the NFL in sacks despite missing four games in 2006. Merriman would go on to miss 15 games in 2008. Luis Castillo missed six games in 2007 after a season in which he was on pace for 11 sacks in 2006 when he missed six games. Nick Hardwick was San Diego’s primary starting center from 2004-2008, from 2010-2011, will be the starting center this year, but missed 13 games in 2009.
Vincent Jackson led San Diego in receiving yards and TD receptions during the 2009 season while Gates was second on the team in both categories and Malcom Floyd was third in receiving yards. Jackson, Gates and Floyd combined to miss 22 games in 2010 when Rivers led the NFL with 4,710 passing yards to go along with 30 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Kris Dielman was a four time Pro Bowl left guard and a two time All-Pro before he retired in the off-season. Dielman missed 10 games last season while two time Pro Bowl left tackle Marcus McNeill missed seven games in 2011.
San Diego’s next preseason game is on the road against the San Francisco 49ers. One has to wonder how many snaps Rivers will take because starting running back Ryan Mathews broke his clavicle two weeks ago in a preseason game while Vincent Brown broke his ankle last week.
Jared Gaither will start at left tackle when he comes back, but he participated in one practice, left with back spasms and has not practiced or played in a game while Hardwick is dealing with a concussion.
Rivers avoided injuries which made him miss games, but it will be interesting to see if he plays or how many snaps he takes before the regular season opener against the Oakland Raiders.