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Preseason Preview: Cowboys at Chargers

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    In the preseason, teams don't do a lot of advance scouting on the opposition, but we know that it helps to know who's looming on the other side of the field from the Cowboys. Here's a look at the Chargers ahead of Sunday's game.

    The Opponent: The San Diego Chargers, or, as some have already started taking to calling them, the Los Angeles Chargers.

    Last Season: The Chargers reversed trends by getting off to a 4-1 start, surprising them so much that they promptly lost their next six to dig a hole they couldn't climb out of in time to make the playoffs. While they changed up their approach, the Chargers remained massive underachievers which, naturally, meant there were no changes among the team's decision makers.

    The Offseason: Unusually aggressive from general manager A.J. Smith, who normally treats free agency with as much interest as he does social niceties. They signed wide receivers Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal to help make up for the loss of Vincent Jackson and added  linebackers Jarret Johnson and Melvin Ingram to the defense.

    The Line: Chargers by 3. Seriously, though, find something better to do with your money than betting on preseason games.

    The Coach: Still Norv Turner. We're not really sure why the Chargers are convinced something's going to be different about old Norv this year, but we kinda admire their ability to believe in something so strongly despite so much evidence to the contrary.

    The Offense: Phil Rivers is back after his worst season as a quarterback and he's working with a group of new receivers that doesn't feature anyone with Jackson's skill set. That's why it would be nice if Antonio Gates is healthy again. It would also be nice if The Wire was still on the air. Continuing our trend of nothing ever changing in San Diego is Ryan Mathews' broken collarbone. Mathews has loads of talent, but the running back has an aversion to health that might actually be a phobia.

    The Defense: Ingram is the key. The Chargers defense stank last season because they couldn't rush the quarterback, which is something Ingram did quite well at South Carolina. Fellow rookie Kendall Reyes will be trying to boost things from the defensive line, a spot where the Chargers hope to see more from Corey Liuget as well. They'll need it because the secondary still looks awfully weak. The run defense should be pretty decent, though. 

    Key Matchup: Morris Claiborne vs. anyone the Chargers put in front of him. We've been dying to see Claiborne in a game, so it really doesn't matter if he's guarding Meachem, Malcolm Floyd or Ron Burgandy in San Diego on Saturday night. You'd expect Rivers to pick on the rookie a little bit, so it should be a somewhat revealing night.