JUDGE

Chargers Have a Big Problem

Lack of roster depth is apparent in lopsided loss

Against an obviously basic Seahawks defense, the Chargers first team offense looked like one of the greatest units in football history.

Philip Rivers led a 75-yard touchdown drive in his only action of the preseason opener. The starting defense played pretty well, too, with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram getting pressure on Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson.

“I thought our starters played pretty good,” said Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn. “But I need to see what’s behind those guys. I need to see what we’re taking to Denver on September 11.”

Therein lies the biggest problem for the 2017 Chargers that was under a magnifying glass in their 48-17 loss to Seattle: they have absolutely zero depth.

Aside from the opening drive and the one-play, 74-yard touchdown toss from Kellen Clemens to a criminally wide open Travis Benjamin, the Chargers reserves on offense turned the ball over four times and averaged 15 yards per possession. That’s just not good enough, and at least a few guys in the locker room are not sugar coating it.

“You can’t really judge how we’re going to do this coming year based on what you just saw,” said offensive lineman Matt Slauson. “It’s obvious we have a lot of work still to do. We have to find our depth, find who those guys are going to be because the reality of the league is those guys are going to have to play a lot.”

This is especially true for the Chargers, who have a recent history of injury issues. The problem resurfaced in the first exhibition game when linebacker Denzel Perryman injured an ankle. He is expected to miss four to six weeks.

Speaking of the defense, those reserves were not any better than the offensive guys. Pro Bowl cornerback Casey Hayward was stellar in his limited time. The guy listed on the depth chart behind him, rookie Michael Davis, was constantly picked on and looked at times like he was allergic to pigskin.

But the Chargers are choosing to chalk it up to the old cliché and asking everybody to relax, these games don’t count.

“It’s still the preseason. It’s still something that you learn from,” said tight end Antonio Gates, who was on the receiving end of the Rivers touchdown toss (again). “You get an opportunity to put your team in certain situations where you see who you can depend on, who you can count on.”

If the first outing of 2017 is any indication the Chargers can’t count on very many guys, most notably the ones who put this roster together in the first place.

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