FB Mike Tolbert (Donald Miralle/Getty)
The San Diego Chargers seek their first road win of the season as they face the Seattle Seahawks and their 12th man at Qwest Field on Sunday. We set the stage for this clash with predictions, team reports and personnel updates on both teams.
KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET
TV: CBS (Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts)
PREDICTION: Chargers 27-17
KEYS TO THE GAME: Without RB Ryan Mathews (ankle), Mike Tolbert is charged with balancing San Diego's offense. He's not as quick, fast or elusive as Mathews, but Tolbert hard-charging, straight-ahead style suits the offensive line. The Chargers hope WR Malcom Floyd (leg) is on the field. He's keeps safeties honest against the run game and TE Antonio Gates.
Seattle isn't an easy place to play. The Seahawks hope their home-field advantage raises the play of veteran QB Matt Hasselbeck, too. He was off the mark last week in Denver and the Chargers had six takeaways in downing Jacksonville in Week 2.
FAST FACTS: Chargers TE Antonio Gates has 12 career games with at least two touchdown catches. ... Seahawks RB Justin Forsett is averaging 5.5 yards per carry for his career.
INSIDE THE CAMPS
Running back Ryan Mathews skipped another practice Thursday, putting his availability in Sunday's game in Seattle in serious jeopardy. Mathews has a high ankle sprain, something that limited him to one quarter in Sunday's win over the Jaguars.
Mike Tolbert, who rushed for two touchdowns on Sunday, will get an increased amount of snaps. Same goes for Darren Sproles.
Mathews came in with no shortage of hype, with coach Norv Turner comparing his excitement of Mathews coming aboard matching LaDainian Tomlinson's arrival in 2001 when Turner was the team's offensive coordinator.
Mathews has shown flashes of what this powerful, but nifty, back can do. He has gained 101 yards on 24 carries, an impressive average 4.2 yards.
But any review of Mathews must also show he has lost two fumbles in five quarters of football. With a fumble every 12 carries, that is no way to endear you to coaches and teammates.
That is a very small sample size. But it does illustrate the transition Mathews, a star at Fresno State, is going through.
Mathews has to prove he could put the disappointing fumbles behind him. He seemed to hang his head a little too long after he lost the ball.
Mathews cares, so that's a good thing. But he also cares so much the Chargers need to remind him that good backs, just like good defensive backs, have short memories.
Mathews has to stay aggressive in hitting the holes and with his runs, and not let the fumbles temper his style too much.
Mathews will likely have another week to think about it. The Chargers are being careful with their prized rookie, the centerpiece of what they had hoped would be a revitalized running attack.
The Seattle Seahawks introduced former St. Louis Blues CEO Peter McLoughlin as the team's new president, and also the head of Sounders FC and First & Goal Inc on Thursday.
McLoughlin replaces Tod Leiweke, who took a new position as part owner and president of the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning.
McLoughlin got a first-hand view of team he will oversee at Qwest Field for the season opener with the 49ers two weeks ago.
"The noise level on third down plays and the illegal procedure calls against the 49ers, what a contribution," McLoughlin said. "I got to walk around the stadium with Tod. He was high-fiving fans and the next thing I know, I was high-fiving fans. I said, 'This just feels right.'"
Joining McLoughlin during the press conference were Leiweke, Seahawks general manager John Schneider and Bert Kolde, one of Allen's trusted advisors with Vulcan, Inc.
"Consider me a new member of the 12th Man," McLoughlin told reporters during a press conference at the team's headquarters. "I'm here to be a great fan of both teams, to work hard, serve the fans, give back to the community and to help John (Schneider) and Pete (Carroll) and the Sounders have the resources to put championships in the Seattle community. I just couldn't be happier to be here."
Leiweke was asked how the structure would be moving forward, and his answer indicated that both Carroll and Schneider would continue to control football operations, similar to the structure he presided over when he had the job. Schneider and Carroll also will report directly to Allen.
"Peter is going to be the president of the two teams," Leieweke said. "He was a guy that wasn't caught up in titles. President just seemed to identify what he's going to do. The fact is that the football reports to ownership.
"One of the cool things about his candidacy was that he said to me: 'These football guys have forgotten more about football than I'll ever know.' He wasn't coming here to draw plays or draft players. So that was part of the fit we talked about. That football will continue to report ownership. Peter will do everything he can to support it."
McLoughlin will maintain control over the annual budgets for both teams.
"This is the structure like most NFL teams, and in fact that's really how it worked for us, under my leadership," Leiweke said.
--WR Malcom Floyd (leg) was able to work on Thursday. He will start Sunday.
--LT Brandyn Dombrowski (leg) was able to practice and he is a go for Sunday.
--ILB Stephen Cooper (knee) was limited; he could go Sunday or Brandon Siler fills in.
--Offensive tackle Sean Locklear was a limited participant in practice with a knee injury. Mansfield Wrotto would replace Locklear if he can't go on Sunday.
--Offensive tackle Chester Pitts (knee) was listed as a full participant in practice and could see his first action of the year against San Diego on Sunday.
--Linebacker Leroy Hill is out this week with a calf/Achilles injury and could be out for an extended period of time.
--Fullback Quinton Ganther (knee) did not practice for a second straight day. Michael Robinson would get the start at fullback if he can't go.
--Wide receiver Mike Williams appears to have healed from a thigh issue that slowed him down last week against Denver. He was a full participant in practice on Thursday.