Cardinals vs. Chargers preview: 5 questions with Bolts from the Blue

Christian Petersen

We check in with the guys that know the Chargers.

Ken Whisenhunt and the San Diego Chargers are coming to town. Since that is the case, I decided to check in John Gennaro, who is San Diego's version (undoubtably an upgrade) of me. He was kind enough to answer a few questions.

JR: So what's the word with Ken Whisenhunt these days? How does the offense look? What about Philip Rivers? How is is dealing with Whiz, as his offense is a bit complex and he isn't warm and fuzzy with his QBs?

JG: Philip Rivers is known as someone that gets along with everyone, especially his coaches, so he's embraced Whiz with open arms. His offense...well, that's another story. Rivers is still working the kinks out and has struggled to get the ball out quickly (something that the offense needs to run properly) in the first two weeks of the preseason. We're hoping to see progress with that against the Cardinals.

JR: Speaking of Rivers...what exactly happened to him? How much longer is the team going to ride him as their franchise? What are expectations for him this year?

JG: This probably depends on who you talk to. Some will blame Rivers, some will blame Norv Turner, and some will blame A.J. Smith and the lack of talent left around Rivers. Personally, I think it's a combination of all of those things. The expectations for Rivers are somewhere around an average Rivers season, which is still above-average for most QBs. He's been below average for two consecutive seasons now, and his contract after this season makes it very easy for the team to release him. He'll need to have a better year than he's had in the last two for the team to not give up on him in the next offseason.

JR: have had an offensive line issue. How is that going so far?

JG: The offensive line looks better. King Dunlap looks pretty good as the team's new left tackle, and D.J. Fluker has fit the bill as a dominant run blocker. The line seems to be responding well to new Offensive Line Coach Joe D'Alessandris' run blocking schemes, and they're getting a lot of help from tight ends when holding back opposing pass rushers.

JR: What has been the biggest offseason move? Biggest surprise? Biggest disappointment?

JG: Well, revamping the offensive scheme completely is the biggest change, but the biggest roster move is probably the offensive line as a whole. The team starters the 2013 with a new left tackle, left guard, right guard and right tackle. The only returning member of the 2012 line is long-time Chargers starting center Nick Hardwick.

The biggest surprise of the preseason thus far has been the performance of Ryan Mathews. He seems very comfortable in the zone-blocking running game, where the back is simply required to make one cut and go instead of searching for the right hole. He's looked downright dominant running behind right guard Jeromey Clary and D.J Fluker so far, but we'll see if that keeps up and if he can stay healthy.

My biggest disappointment of the preseason so far has been Danny Woodhead, who has yet to play a down in a game despite being healthy in practice. Mike McCoy never revealed what was wrong with Woodhead and we still aren't quite sure if and when he'll actually get to play, but from the looks of the plays they're running in practice it looks like he's set to be a very big part of what the Chargers are trying to do on offense.

JR: Who are some players that Cardinals fans should watch that we might not know?

JG: You might know Fozzy Whittaker, who didn't get much of a chance with the Cardinals but is expected to make the Chargers roster. He's been having a very good preseason.

Kwame Geathers, an undrafted free agent nose tackle out of Georgia has been destroying second-string interior linemen for two games now. He's always fun to watch.

You probably know Dwight Freeney, but many have forgotten about him. In limited snaps so far, Dwight Freeney looks like....well, he looks like the old Dwight Freeney. He's been unstoppable, even when double-teamed, when on the field.


Thanks, John!

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