The Chargers final preseason game against the 49ers on Thursday will determine the fate of a few players.
“Every year it seems like there is something that happens in this game where you alter or adjust the 53-man roster,” coach Norv Turner said. “So, it is an important game.”
Three battles to watch
WR: Goodman vs. Willie -- The final receiver spot will likely come down to incumbent kick returner Richard Goodman and rookie Mike Willie (undrafted, Arizona State). Willie has had four receptions for 90 yards and a TD in preseason. Goodman missed the first two games and did not have a reception last week.
The job is still Goodman’s to lose. He is the fastest player on the team and that will help him retain his job as the returner. Furthermore, Turner said Willie needs to improve. “I’d just like to see him be more consistent,” Turner said of Willie. “He is a young guy that is all over the place. He has shown that he can catch, but he is not a very disciplined player right now.”
Nevertheless, Willie could still play himself onto the roster and beat out Goodman with a great performance on Thursday.
S: Presley vs. Stuckey -- Darrell Stuckey is a backup free safety to Eric Weddle and the incumbent gunner on special teams. Stuckey (concussion) did not play last week and will also likely miss Thursday’s game. Strong safety Corey Lynch played free safety in Stuckey’s spot last Friday and rookie cornerback DeAndre Presley (undrafted, Appalachian State) was the gunner. Presley also saw time with the first-string as the nickelback and had an interception.
Four cornerbacks are guaranteed to make the team: Antoine Cason, Marcus Gilchrist, Quentin Jammer and Shareece Wright. Only Cason is healthy right now. The other three missed practice on Tuesday with hamstring concerns.
With another good game, Presley could be added as a fifth to add depth and replace Stuckey as the gunner. This would leave Lynch to backup at both safety positions.
ILB: Williams vs. Gachkar vs. Bird -- Bront Bird (undrafted, 2nd year, Texas Tech) and ILB Andrew Gachkar (7th round, 2nd year, Missouri) finished last season on the roster.  Jonas Mouton (2nd year, 2nd round, Michigan) missed last season with a shoulder injury he suffered in the final preseason game and is now healthy. Demorrio Williams (9th year, free agent, Chiefs) was also signed.
Mouton will be on the 53-man and it appeared Williams would also make it with his veteran leadership. Williams has not practiced for the last two weeks. He missed last week’s game and will also likely not play on Thursday. Bird and Gachkar have both played well and are healthy. A standout game could put either of them on the roster over Williams.
Gachkar, however, has the clear advantage because he plays on the right side, the same side as Williams. Bird plays on the left.  
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