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Preseason preview: Chargers quarterbacks present biggest challenge for Seahawks

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Los Angeles Chargers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The preseason can be dull and an exercise in avoiding injury. The scheme is vanilla; the product is poor; and the players get hurt. Yet these games are everything for players trying to make an NFL roster. Furthermore, opponents are often so stacked at one position that you get to see the Seattle Seahawks’ third stringers go up against one of the league’s best.

We’re talking about teams with guys who will be troublesome in the fourth quarter. Dudes on the bottom end of the roster that will get cut and then immediately be picked up by another team. Think peak-Seattle depth, when the waiving of guys like Jaye Howard and Spencer Ware was made to look foolish—both by the pesky Chiefs.

This Preseason preview mini-series will assess the deepest, most problematic position for a Seahawks unit to face—read it as a “one thing to look for” viewing guide. For example: In Seattle’s case, the linebacker position is the deepest and most challenging for opponents. Linebackers the Seahawks cut as they whittle their roster down to 53 will get snapped up by the rest of the league. The NFL is always watching.

@ Los Angeles Chargers—Saturday 08/24 7pm PDT

The third preseason game brings us to the Chargers. This process revealed that the Bolts already have Seattle beat in one crucial aspect: the longest stadium name. The Seahawks travel to “ROKIT FIELD AT DIGNITY HEALTH SPORTS PARK”, where they’ll face the toughest, deepest team on their pre-season schedule.

The interior rush of Jerry Tillery potentially not even starting makes the defense a great talent test along with excellent preparation for facing the San Francisco 49ers--Gus Bradley’s scheme contains similar concepts to that of Robert Saleh thanks to being another branch of the Pete Carroll coaching tree.

Did Seattle want Jerry Tillery in the 2019 NFL Draft?

Derwin James breaking his foot is peak-Chargers, a franchise kept from Super Bowls due to their torrid injury history. Yet it’s still tough to find a LA position group with significant holes, making them a fantastic game 3 opponent for Seattle. (Starters often play well into the second half in the third pre-season game)

Game 3 being the “dress rehearsal” of the preseason gives an answer that breaks the initial parameters of this article: quarterback. The first two men on this list will not be released. Yet they are sure to play more than half of the game combined, meaning Seattle’s defense is going to face immense quarterback talent. The other two men, Cardale Jones and Easton Stick, are examples of Los Angeles starting to consider a Rivers successor.

  • Now 37-years-old, Philip Rivers’ chances of making a Super Bowl still exist. The cursed nature of the Chargers with key players getting hurt has kept Rivers from the big game throughout his 15-year career. There hasn’t been a better signal caller at dissecting Carroll’s defense. This task is made even easier by the vanilla looks of the preseason, where Rivers will carve up the Seahawks’ zone with ease. It’s the game for the veteran to see his first, and only, preseason action.
  • Tyrod Taylor was added in Free Agency on a 2-year, $11 million deal. With Rivers entering his 16th season, there’s a chance that the 30-year-old Taylor could become a stop-gap starter at the position. For now, though, Taylor is one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league. He brings a totally different dimension to the offense with his legs. Such play-extension is the opposite of Rivers’ play-style and will shock the Seahawks’ defense.
  • Coming from North Dakota State, Easton Stick got some soft Carson Wentz-hype in the pre-draft process. It was soon realized that Stick was not the same calibre of player as Wentz and Stick was eventually drafted in the 5th round of 2019. The rookie tested with a 4.62 forty and 6.65 3-cone at the combine; that’s enough to trouble lower string defenders on scrambles and option keepers. His college tape featured a touch deep ball but the question was always if he had the arm strength. Stick has thrown bemusing picks in week 1 and week 2, he’s looking to bounce back in week 3.
  • It’s crazy that Cardale Jones is still in the league, but he certainly has an NFL arm. Jones’ strength alone is a big test for third-string coverage. The importance of keeping solid eye-discipline, maintaining in-phase positioning, and staying over-the-top will be emphasized by Jones’ talents. Los Angeles waived the former Buckeye on September 2nd, 2018, and then signed the 26-year-old to a reserve/future contract on January 14th of this year. He seems destined for the XFL, but is fighting for his job and looked like the best backup on the Chargers in week 2. His troublesome traits will be key.

The Chargers quarterback group contains one of the NFL’s elite, the league’s best backup and then a vicious quarterback competition for who can make the 53 as a developmental project that one day might be good enough to start.

The entire Seahawks defense is going to be thoroughly tested by the different styles of quarterbacking. There are aspects to execution Seattle’s coaching staff will be looking for. For instance: Do the underneath zones push wide with the quick game? The situation at the Bolts’ QB position makes for a brutal Week 3 opponent.