SAN DIEGO -- With 10 defensive lineman currently on the San Diego Chargers’ roster, only six of them are fully healthy heading into the team’s most important preseason contest at San Francisco.
Traditionally, the third preseason game is a dress rehearsal for NFL teams, as starters usually play three quarters in order to get ready for the regular season.
San Diego’s most dominant lineman, defensive end Corey Liuget, has been nursing an ankle injury for the past two weeks but appeared to make it through Friday’s game at Seattle unscathed. However, starting defensive tackle Sean Lissemore suffered an ankle injury during the opening drive on a cut block by tight end Zach Miller. He reportedly left the locker room with the injured ankle in a walking boot.
Head coach Mike McCoy said that Lissemore will not play against San Francisco.
Defensive ends Lawrence Guy (shoulder) and Damik Scafe (unknown) did not play against the Seahawks because of injuries. With those players out, rookies Tenny Palepoi and Ryan Carrethers have had to move up the depth chart and played more snaps.
San Diego’s depleted numbers on the defensive line affected the team’s ability to effectively stop the running game. Through two preseason games, the Chargers are giving up 5.58 yards a carry. Last season, San Diego’s defense allowed 4.6 yards per carry, No. 27 in the NFL.
“We struggled there a little bit last night with that, so we’ve got to improve that,” said McCoy, when asked how his team defended the run against Seattle.
Chargers general manager Tom Telesco and his personnel staff are likely scouring the rosters of other NFL teams in order to find a couple bodies to provide depth once the first roster cuts down to 75 players occurs on Aug. 26.
McCoy said he understands a couple moves might be necessary to improve the depth and overall play of his team’s defensive line moving forward.
“We’ll do whatever we think is in the best interest of the organization,” McCoy said. “If we think we have to bring someone in to replace somebody, or to fill in another position, we’ll do that.”