Sports Out West

NFL preseason Week 3, Chargers vs. Cardinals: 3 questions the Bolts need to answer

Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

Preseason football gives an NFL team the chance to evaluate everything from the progression of key personnel to whether or not a newcomer should warrant a spot on the final 53-man roster. On Saturday, the San Diego Chargers will host the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3 of their preseason on Saturday night, and they still have some major question marks to address. Here are three glaring issues that they need to resolve sooner rather than later. 

1. Will they clean up the special teams mistakes?

What separates winning from losing in the NFL can often involve one key play or turnover. For the Chargers, making sure they avoid major special teams gaffes that have cost them valuable field position and points in the past few seasons is going to be critical in their ability to move forward. That’s especially true when it comes to special teams. 

2. Can the first team defense stop the run? 

In the National Football League, everything a team is capable of doing, from winning games to taking control of the cock, is predicated upon stopping the run. If the Bolts are going to have success in 2013, they’ll have to become masters of doing it. In Week 3, the first team will most likely see the most playing time they’ll have all preseason, so it’s one aspect to watch. 

3. Can they stay healthy?

Injuries are a part of the game when it comes to the NFL, and the Chargers are no exception. They’ll face a physical Arizona Cardinals defense that has been the best in the preseason so far. Staying healthy will be critical, and they’ll have to learn how to do a better job of it starting on Saturday after seeing several players, including wide receiver Danario Alexander go down with long-term injuries. Ryan Mathews will remain on the watch list to see if he can avoid the trainer’s table as well. 

Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.