I know, I know. It's preseason. These games don't count.
But the Chargers and Cowboys have been scrimmaging for two days in the Texas heat. So, when the starters face off for two quarters (maybe more) on ESPN's Sunday Night Football, expect more than the usual exhibition game.
It's true, preseason matchups aren't about wins and losses and in the end the score won't mean much. As entire squads rotate in and out, preseason games lack cohesion and aren't indicative of regular season team performance.
But while the final score says little, individual play says everything. And both teams have plenty of guys trying to prove they've earned a spot, or deserve to keep one, on their respective rosters. Don't tell them to take it easy on Sunday
, they won't hear you.
Old Habits Die Hot
Norv Turner is well aware of the Chargers’ history of slow starts. Was practicing in beautiful SD against the same teammates making it hard to prepare for other teams in other climates?
It can’t be an excuse this year. Turner took the team to Dallas to get varied looks and play in severe heat conditions.
“You can’t beat this work, particularly getting to see different players, different defenses, different offenses,” Turner said
. “I think it really helped both teams. We came here with the mindset we were going to get better, and I think we got better. Any exposure you have going against different guys – and Dallas has some talented guys – it’s great exposure for all our players.”
The Tolbert Report
In one series, Mike Tolbert caught a quick pass out of the flat and tip-toed down the sideline for extra yards. The O-Line was improved but still not making big holes so he had to make his own up the middle. It was supposed to be "light contact without tackling" but ask the Cowboys how they felt on the receiving end--Tolbert was ready to deliver
. As usual, he came to play. Hard.
A lone-star-studded crowd was there to watch Friday's practice, with over 50 former Cowboys including Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach. Tony Romo talked about playing in front of Cowboys legends
during scrimmages with the Chargers saying, "To be able to (practice) in front of these guys, that's fun for me. You want to impress them and do things they'll like. It was a great environment."
Romo might have been impressed with the Dallas legends but who was Aikman there to see?
“I love Philip Rivers,” said Aikman
. “I think so much of him I really do root for the Chargers to have great success.”
Look for Aikman on the visitor's sidelines if he keeps up that kind of talk around Jerry Jones.
Other News and Notes from Camp:
WR Vincent Jackson showed off his vertical leaping ability with a highlight snag of Rivers’ pass in the back of the endzone: it was 10 feet high but no easy slam dunk. Even Cowboys DBs were impressed.
DE Corey "Too Liuget to Quit" is making the most of his opportunity for extra reps while Jacques Cesaire nurses a sort leg.
LB Darryl Gamble, from Georgia, continues to play at full speed with full intensity. He may get an opportunity to stick with the team if he continues to hit hard in games. He’s on the bubble and definitely a player to watch Sunday night.
WR Bryan Walters caught extra passes from Volek hoping to be more than just a good special teams option. A big return on Sunday would go a long way to dispelling the rumor his 103-yd return against Seattle was more about good blocking
SS Bob Sanders is healthy. Still. If this is true going into their Week Six bye, the Chargers will have at least four wins and all the talk of a slow-start should fade away (along with persistent questions about Sanders' health).
Video from Thursday practice
Video from Friday practice