Its Wednesday, and two days after the Falcons Monday Night victory over the Broncos. It is high time to start turning our attention to the days ahead at the challenge that waits at the end of the week: the San Diego Chargers.
The first thing to look at for this matchup is the injury report. That isn’t always the first place to look for every team, but I think this is another situation where it needs to be looked at.
Both lists are fairly long and littered with high profile or key players. Last week Sean Weatherspoon and Tyson Clabo were limited in practice, questionable for the game, and then went out and performed extraordinarily well against the Broncos. Based on how guys looked in the game and the fact that, with the exception of Chris Owens, nobody was carted off the field or taken out for what looked to be a serious injury, I wouldn’t read too much into it. Limited practice isn’t always a bad thing, and I would think these were precautionary things rather than serious injuries. It’s early, but I’d expect Roddy White, Julio Jones, Tyson Clabo, John Abraham, Stephen Nicholas, and Sean Weatherspoon to all play against San Diego. You can just about count on it.
For the most part, I would expect the same thing for most of the players on the Chargers injury report. Rosario, Royal, Gates and Brinkley all saw limited practice early in the week and I think that is a pretty good indicator that they will likely play against the Falcons.
The interesting players to look at are left offensive tackle Jared Gaither, and running back Ryan Matthews. The Chargers don’t have a particularly strong offensive line, and Gaither isn’t helping their cause. He has shows some signs of playing well, but he has been too injured and inconsistent to be much of a positive factor. Gaither didn’t play last week, and there is reason to doubt that he will play this week as well. Undrafted rookie Mike Harris has been filling in at left tackle, but I think John Abraham could take advantage of either of these players.
I also would like to look at Ryan Matthews. Matthews broke his collarbone early in August in a pre-season game, and missed the rest of pre-season as well as the first two games of the season. Apparently the bone is healed as he has been practicing the last two weeks, and saw full practice action today. Interestingly, Matthews was cleared for contact last week, but due to his inactivity, the Chargers decided to hold him out of their game against the Titans in Week 2. Matthews is a player with a lot of potential, but hasn’t reached that level due to injuries and inconsistency yet again. His presence could mean a lot for the San Diego offense. It will be interesting to see how he progresses in practice and if he gets the start in Week 3 after missing the first two games.