Chargers turn their attention to opener against the Lions


SAN DIEGO -- In many ways the San Diego Chargers have been preparing for the team’s regular-season opener against the Detroit Lions on Sept. 13 since the league released the 2015 schedule in April.

However, once final roster cuts are completed on Saturday, the coaching staff and players will shift their full attention to Detroit.

"From the first day the schedule comes out you start looking toward that first game of the year, so we’re excited," Chargers head coach Mike McCoy said. "We’ve got a little bit of work to do over the weekend to get down to the 53 and get the practice squad set. But we’re looking forward to having a great opener against Detroit."

The last time the Chargers faced the Lions was a 38-10 loss in Detroit on Dec. 24, 2011. The Chargers play the NFC North every four years, so gaining familiarity with a team they don’t see very often will be a concern going into this matchup.

The Chargers are 6-4 all-time against Detroit.

The Lions are one of five playoffs teams from last season the Charger face in the first eight games. Detroit has a high-powered offense led by quarterback Matthew Stafford, with explosive playmakers on the perimeter in receivers Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate.

Defensively, Ndamukong Suh left the Lions in free agency to join the Miami Dolphins. But the cupboard is not empty in Detroit. Leading tackler linebacker DeAndre Levy returns, along with defensive back Glover Quin (seven interceptions in 2014) and third-year pass-rusher Ezekiel Ansah (seven sacks in 2014).

The Lions traded with the Baltimore Ravens for Haloti Ngata to replace Suh.

McCoy gave the players Saturday and Sunday off to rest. The players will return to Chargers Park for practice on Monday.

"Not taking anything away from preseason, but we understand that the first game is against Detroit," Chargers linebacker Manti Te'o said. "We want to take care of business. And now it’s time to get out there and perform. And we’re all excited."