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McCoy, Bolts Have Perfect Test Against Texans

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Mike McCoy (c.) will make his San Diego Chargers coaching debut tonight against the Houston Texans. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Mike McCoy (c.) will make his San Diego Chargers coaching debut tonight against the Houston Texans. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Mike McCoy’s first regular-season game as head coach of the San Diego Chargers tonight will be as tough a test as any. The Houston Texans have a ton of firepower on both sides of the ball while the Bolts are a team looking to establish their new identity.

It was obvious throughout the preseason that the Chargers have little depth. The second and third teams were atrocious in all four games; leaving little doubt that this team’s shortcomings outside of the first 22 will be exposed.

However, McCoy insists that all his players have bought into the new system.

 “We have a great plan in place and a great coaching staff that has done a great job of installing the system and letting everyone know -- offensively, defensively and on special teams -- what we want to get done here. It’s up to us to come up with a great plan and it’s up to the players to execute it on Monday night.”

Both the first-team offense and defense have solid combinations of youth and experience, each anchored by prominent veterans -- Philip Rivers and Eric Weddle -- and promising rookies -- D.J. Fluker and Manti Te’o (the rookie linebacker out of Notre Dame will sit out Week 1with a lingering foot injury suffered after the first preseason game against the Seahawks).

But, based on the preseason, it’s difficult to find the merits in McCoy’s comments. The Chargers’ first teams did play well against the Arizona Cardinals, forcing turnovers and effectively running the no-huddle offense, but outside of that game, there’s no real indication this team is ready to contend for a playoff spot in 2013.

Basically there was one preseason game in which the first teams looked competitive, and three and a half in which the backups were handled.

That’s where the Chargers stand, and now the real test begins.

Right from the start, San Diego has the perfect opportunity to measure itself against a very good Houston team. Yes, it’s early and it’s a long season, but how well the Chargers play and respond afterward will be a good indication of what’s to come this season.

“…I feel good and confident about where we are and the understanding of what we’re trying to get done.” Rivers said. “Understanding everything that will be in the game plan. There’s not a lot of translating going on anymore. When I hear what we have, what we do, and when we talk, it’s all the stuff we have now. And that took a period of time, but I feel ready to go.”