"This is a critical time for us."
Perhaps it's a bit overly dramatic, but Chargers head coach Norv Turner knows an extra day off in the NFL is worth a whole lot more than the sum of its 24 hours.
When NBC decided to move San Diego's second preseason game in Dallas from Saturday to Sunday, the Bolts got another day, and two more practices, to prepare. Not just for the game, but for the season. It's not enough to make up for missing four months during the Lockout, but it's better than nothing.
"This week, to me, is about our football team taking a big step," said Turner, "and when we're done with the Dallas game, us being significantly better than we are right now."
On their first defensive sequence Thursday night against Seattle, the Chargers had seven different players play their first snaps in San Diego uniforms. Takeo Spikes, Bob Sanders, Travis LaBoy, Marcus Gilchrist, Jonas Mouton, Corey Liuget and Donald Butler all played together for the first time. All are expected to either start or see significant playing time.
It's a lot of new parts to try and get moving in the right direction. Although they gave up a pair of 3rd down conversions, the defense put consistent pressure on the quarterback and was stout against the run. It was a good start.
But it was a small start.
"Granted, we still had some of the basic things in," said Spikes. "But when you're able to accomplish the basic stuff, then you can graduate to the next level."
Part of the next level is playing more than 10 snaps, which the starters are expected to do against the Cowboys. Kickoff in Dallas is set for 5:00 p.m. San Diego time on NBC's Sunday Night Football. The game will be immediately followed by a special edition of Football Night in San Diego.