Friday, August 22, 2014
Verrett, Freeney expected to play vs. 49ers
By Eric D. Williams
SAN DIEGO -- Two impact defensive players for the San Diego Chargers are expected to see their first action this preseason on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.
Cornerback Jason Verrett and outside linebacker Dwight Freeney both fully participated in practice this week and are physically ready to play on Sunday. Verrett took off a red jersey this week that Chargers head coach Mike McCoy made him wear during practice to remind the TCU product to go easy in order to protect a surgically repaired shoulder.
Freeney is returning from a torn quad that cut short his 2013 season, but appears healthy and ready to return as one of the better edge rushers in the NFL. Both sat out of the first two exhibitions for San Diego.
McCoy would not say definitively if Verrett or Freeney would play on Sunday.
"We’ve got a plan for everybody," McCoy said.
But the 40 or so family and friends Verrett has attending the game will be disappointed if San Diego’s first-round selection from this year’s draft does not make it out on the field on Sunday. Verret hails from nearby Fairfield, California. The TCU product said he feels healthy and is ready to show what he can do.
"It’s going to be love," Verrett said. "My family’s going to be pretty deep out there, so there’s going to be a lot of adrenaline, and a lot of pressure. But at the same time, it’s still football."
One person ready to see Verrett play is Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano.
"He’s been getting a lot of reps here in practice," Pagano said about Verrett. "The first live action probably his nerves will be going a little bit, but that’s always about having first-time action in an NFL game. But it’s going to be exciting. I’d love to watch him fly around and make a bunch of plays."
Like Verrett, Freeney says that he will prepare as if he will play against San Francisco, but ultimately that decision will be left for McCoy and the rest of the coaching staff.
"I’m ready," Freeney said. "I’m letting the coaches kind of gauge this thing. I have confidence in them, and when they’re ready for me to go, I’ll go."
McCoy would not say how long the starters will play, stating that he will leave them in the game as long as needed to make sure they get enough work. Typically, starters play into the third quarter of the third preseason game.
Injury report: Defensive end Lawrence Guy (shoulder), defensive tackle Sean Lissemore (ankle), linebacker Manti Te'o (foot), safety Jahleel Addae (hamstring), receiver Vincent Brown (calf) and cornerback Marcus Cromartie (groin) did not practice on Friday, and are not expected to play against San Francisco on Sunday. Offensive lineman Jeromey Clary (shoulder/hip) remains on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.