Houston at San Diego: Preview of what’s to come.

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November 18, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers (17) during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Standing in the way of the Texans 1-0 record are the San Diego Chargers. Gone is head coach Norv Turner and in his place is Mike McCoy. His job is bring back the old Phillip Rivers, he of NFL MVP accolades and high hopes for the Charger faithful. It’s a tall order based on the last couple of disappointing seasons. The first order of business is to keep Rivers protected.

This is going to be a tough test for a line that sees only their center returning in place from last season. If there is one thing that holds true in the NFL, the o-line needs time to learn to play as a unit, they haven’t had that time. King Dunlap easily won the starting left tackle position from recently unemployed Max Starks, but that’s scant relief for Rivers in contemplating facing the stampede Wade Phillips is guaranteed to send his way.

Unfortunately Rivers has few choices for passing targets as injuries to Danario Alexander ended his 2014 season and Malcom Floyd suffered a preseason knee injury. This leaves an aging Antonio Gates as Rivers only known commodity to throw to. However untested Keenan Allen has something to prove and who knows, he might surprise us all.

Defensively Dwight Freeney is still learning how to play outside linebacker rather than a pass rushing end. He maybe older, but expect him to put pressure on Schaub at least early in the game. Safety Eric Weddle should provide above average coverage down the field and give fans something to cheer about. Manti Te’o is recovering from a left foot injury but is expecting to be ready to go come Monday night.

One area San Diego has a real chance to excel at is special teams. Should any kick offs not result in a touchback they have a shot at gaining some good yards based on Houston’s special teams coverage being less than stellar last season and early in the preseason.

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Topics: Ben Tate, Brian Cushing, Chargers, DJ Swearinger, JJ Watt, Matt Schaub, Phillip Rivers, Texans

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