Chargers rookie Kyle Emanuel on his first professional sack and comfort with the defense, Danny Woodhead on his first game action since week 3 in 2014 and Philip Rivers on Melvin Gordon’s performance and new look on the right side of the offensive line.
by Marty Caswell
It Is What It Is
The Chargers beat the Dallas Cowboys 17-7 in a game we likely won’t recall a year from now. Or next month. Philip Rivers played only the first series, going 2-for-2 for 20 yards, Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver each ran for a touchdown and Nick Novak nailed a 52-yard field goal.
As expected, D.J. Fluker started at right guard with Joe Barksdale at right tackle.
“I think it’s still a work in progress,” said Rivers after the game. “I think they have to continue to get comfortable and fluid in their positions. The calls and the fits are different and then Joe (Barksdale) is new to the offense. I think they are going to be just fine and I am thankful that we have got a month to get everything cleaned up.”
Making The Most
Rookie Kyle Emanuel appears to be hot on their heels. Emanuel, the Chargers fifth round pick out of North Dakota State has had a very impressive camp and sacked Cowboys quarterback Dustin Vaughan for a loss of seven yards as well as forced a fumble in his Chargers debut.
Emanuel estimates the largest crowd he ever played in front of during college at around 50,000 and said he had some anxiety leading up to the game.
“It was fun. I was pretty nervous throughout the day, nervous and anxious just to get out there and get my feet wet. After you get out there for a few plays, it just turns into another football game. The competition’s a little bit better but it was fun. It’s football and a game I’ve been playing since I was a little kid so it was fun to be out there.”
“I feel good, especially coming from OTA’s , right away the defense came a little bit fast for me and seeing it the second and third time around here in training camp I’ve definitely become more comfortable and now getting game experience I feel even better about it. It was fun. I was pretty nervous throughout the day, nervous and anxious just to get out there and get my feet wet. After you get out there for a few plays, it just turns into another football game. The competition’s a little bit better but it was fun. It’s football and a game I’ve been playing since I was a little kid so it was fun to be out there.”
Danny Woodhead Returns
Philip Rivers lost a slew of offensive weapons last season but none may have been more important than running back Danny Woodhead, who broke his leg in week three versus Buffalo. Woodhead didn’t waste much time in his first pre-season game, running for an eight-yard touchdown on the Chargers opening drive.
“It was good to be back out there. Just getting back out there, against another team, just competing again was nice. The blocking was awesome. Chris Watt got two guys on a cut block, all I had to do was run, so my job was kind of easy right there.”
Rivers said they had talked about going to Woodhead all week once the Chargers got into the red zone.
“I know how I and the rest of our team feels about how much we missed him last year and he looked great. He had to make a quick cut right out of the backfield and then he was able to get in the end zone. He was excited so I know it felt good for him.”
Johnnie Troutman left the game with a hand injury and was later seen with his right hand wrapped and his arm in a sling. Tourek Williams left the game with a left ankle injury and was on crutches and in a walking boot after the game. Cornerback Chris Davis was diagnosed with a concussion.
One Day at a Time
Melvin Gordon’s mother stated she wouldn’t be wearing her son’s jersey until he earned it. I’m guessing she didn’t buy one after his first exhibition game.
Gordon ran for 11 yard on 6 carries and admitted he has a lot of work ahead.
“I just missed some runs. It just wasn’t clicking for me today. The line opened up some things for me and I got on some one-on-one situations, and in this league you have to win those especially if it’s against the corner or a safety. You have to win that. The line basically did their job. They can’t block all 11 guys so it’s on me to make that guy miss and to make something happen. I got to get better there and I will.”
Few things are more worthless than pre-season depth charts but running back Branden Oliver is listed as the third running back behind Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead. Donald Butler, who didn’t dress for the game, is listed as fourth. Oliver shone in his Chargers debut last year versus the Cowboys in pre-season and ran for 53 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries tonight.