NFL Preseason 2014 Preview: San Diego Chargers vs. Seattle Seahawks
On Friday night, the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks will play host to the San Diego Chargers in Week 2 of the preseason. The old AFC West rivals will clash at CenturyLink Field in a meaningless game, but don’t tell that to Seahawks fans. Seattle’s “12th Man” should be in full-force for the first game back at CenturyLink since the Seahawks won the Super Bowl in February. Preseason or not, these fans will be rocking the Seattle stadium.
San Diego will come into Seattle with a record of 1-0 in the preseason after they beat the Dallas Cowboys 27-7 last week. Two players stood out in that game for the Chargers: wide receiver Dontrelle Inman and running back Branden Oliver. Inman, who starred in the CFL the last two years, caught a 70-yard touchdown from Kellen Clemens and finished with three receptions for 107 yards. Oliver, an undrafted rookie with great speed and quick burst, ran for 64 yards and a touchdown on only seven carries. While neither one is a lock to make the team, both made strong first impressions in their first outing. Inman and Oliver, as well as many other young players, will look to further improve their chances of landing on the final 53-man roster. That includes newly-signed linebacker Victor Aiyewa, who played with starting middle linebacker Donald Butler at the University of Washington.
To prepare for the game, the Chargers replaced music with intense crowd noise to simulate the loud environment that they will experience when they head to the Pacific Northwest on Friday night. Nevertheless, you can’t possibly replicate the environment of CenturyLink Field when the Seahawks are on defense. The San Diego coaching staff will be interested in how some of the younger players will handle the “12′s” when it comes game time.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks are coming off a narrow 21-16 defeat at the hands of the Denver Broncos, the same team they destroyed in the Super Bowl earlier this year. Rookie running back Demitrius Bronson dropped what would have been a go-ahead touchdown pass from quarterback Terrelle Pryor late in the fourth quarter. Bronson will look to rebound in this game and show the coaches that he is worth keeping around. Pryor will also look to impress coaches as he continues to battle Tarvaris Jackson for the backup quarterback spot. However, the wide receiver position has been the most competitive throughout training camp, so look for some of the younger receivers like Phil Bates, Paul Richardson, Ricardo Lockette and Chris Matthews to take advantage of any chances they have. A couple of those wideouts will likely have to impress on special teams in order to make the final cut. On the defensive side, Tharold Simon, who has been one of the stars of training camp, will surely be trying to get back on the good side of the Seahawks coaches after getting ejected from last week’s game.
While the end result won’t matter in the grand scheme of things, what happens in this game does matter for the players, especially the ones living out their NFL dreams. Both teams will look to improve on their previous performances and come away with a victory.
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