Three things: Chargers-Seahawks

August, 11, 2011
8/11/11
11:00
AM ET
Three things to watch for in San Diego’s preseason opener against visiting Seattle on Thursday night. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Special teams: The San Diego special teams' cost the Chargers a playoff spot last year. The unit was a disaster. New special teams coach Rich Bisaccia has a great reputation and should be able to help this unit. It starts in this game. San Diego head coach Norv Turner raved this week about Bisaccia’s impact on the unit. He expects instant dividends. Turner also said the Chargers have improved their talent at several areas of special teams. So, it’s clear the team is ready to see what this group has to offer against the Seahawks.

Donald Butler and Jonas Mouton: The two young inside linebackers are fighting for a starting point. Butler was a third-round pick last year who missed the entire season with an injury. Mouton was a second-round pick this year. This is a big test for both players as the Chargers look for a replacement for the steady Kevin Burnett, who signed with Miami. If neither Butler nor Mouton plays well, the Chargers may have to consider outside options. But if the youngsters play well, as the team expects, their will chances of further contributions should both increase.

Bob Sanders: The new San Diego safety has played in just nine games in the past three seasons while with the Colts. He is healthy and is expected to be a difference maker for the Chargers’ defense. There was a major buzz about Sanders this week at the team’s training camp. Several people said Sanders still has blazing speed and he is flying around the field. I spoke to Sanders and he is bouncing off the walls. He is excited about being healthy again. We won’t see Sanders a lot Thursday night, but I know he is ready to play again.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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