SAN DIEGO – When the San Diego Chargers travel to the Pacific Northwest to face the Seattle Seahawks on Friday in the team’s second exhibition game, the environment will be as close to a regular-season atmosphere as you get during the preseason.
CenturyLink Field is considered one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL. And the Seahawks will be playing for the first time at home since the franchise’s first Super Bowl win last season over the Denver Broncos, so fans will be in a celebratory mood on Friday.
Also making this game unusual is the Chargers will face the Seahawks a month later in San Diego’s regular-season opener on Sept. 14 at Qualcomm Stadium. The starters will likely play for about a quarter, so expect the Chargers not to show too much against Seattle’s starters.
However, quarterback Philip Rivers said the game will be a chance to see how Seattle’s defense matches up personnel-wise in certain situations.
“Defenses run what they run,” Rivers said. “And we’re going to run some of the things we run. We can’t just get out there and run a whole new deal. So I think just getting a feel for the guy in front of you as an offensive lineman, or seeing the secondary.
“We played them last year in the preseason. I don’t think it’s a big deal that we play them again in Week 2 and play them in the preseason. It’s different, but I don’t think it’s a big deal.”
The game also will be a chance for Chargers coach Mike McCoy to evaluate how younger players handle a tough road environment against a quality opponent. Seattle has one of the deepest rosters in the NFL. Last season, 23 players released by the Seahawks were signed to other team’s active rosters, so Friday’s game should be a good barometer for McCoy to evaluate some of his fringe players who have a chance to make the final, 53-man roster.
“It’s a great opportunity to go play in front of a hostile environment,” McCoy said. “They’ve got the loudest fans in the league, week in and week out. And they take great pride in it. So you have to go in there and use the silent count, do certain things and see how some younger players play in that situation.”
Lastly, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco can get an up-close look at players he might be interested in bringing in from Seattle’s roster that are released during final cut downs and could potentially be upgrades over players currently on San Diego’s roster.
Chargers middle linebacker Donald Butler said Friday’s game against Seattle will be more a test run of what he expects will be a physical matchup down come September against Marshawn Lynch and Seattle’s physical run game.
“It’s preseason,” Butler said. “We play them in Week 2, and that’s when I look forward to playing against Marshawn.”