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The Opposition’s Depth Chart: San Diego Chargers

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After two wins on the road, the Miami Dolphins return to Sun Life Stadium this weekend to take on the San Diego Chargers. Lets check out the opposition’s depth chart.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time this season, Miami seemed to gain some rhythm in the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.  Sure, mistakes were made, and it's clear the team have to get better.  But for the first time it seems Miami have gained some momentum heading into this week's game against San Diego.

San Diego lost last week to the Denver Broncos, but still have a record of 5-3.  They'll be a different type of opponent in comparison to the games against the Bears and the Jaguars.  Lets check out the depth chart to see what Miami are up against this week.

Offense

It just wasn't San Diego's day on Thursday against Denver, and it told judging from Philip Rivers' reaction anytime something went against the Chargers.  Whether it was his reaction to the fumbled kickoff being overturned or his reaction after his two interceptions.  Yet while Rivers vented his anger, he wore his heart on his sleeve, and was still able to play at a high level on Thursday, throwing for 252 yards and three touchdowns, albeit with two interceptions.

Tight end Antonio Gates made history by becoming the all-time leading receiver in franchise history, with a 31-yard catch in the second quarter.  Gates now has 9,610 yards in his Chargers career.  He hauled in two touchdowns to make it a total of 9 in the first 8 games.  Wide receiver Keenan Allen had 9 catches for 73 yards and a touchdown, his first of the season.

As for the offensive line, the unit has been abysmal this year, especially in the middle where the loss of Nick Hardwick at the beginning of the season has been telling.  The result means that Philip Rivers has been forcing some throws, whilst the run game has stuttered.  Undrafted rookie running back Branden Oliver played well early on in the season, but has been struggling after teams have learnt how to play against him.  Miami's stable full of stellar pass rushers can really make an impact here.

Position First String Second String Third String Other
WR1 Keenan Allen Seyi Ajirotutu Dontrelle Inman
LT King Dunlap Willie Smith
LG Chad Rinehart Chris Watt
C Rich Ohrnberger Trevor Robinson
RG Johnnie Troutman Chris Watt
RT D.J. Fluker Willie Smith
TE Antonio Gates David Johnson
TE Ladarius Green John Phillips
WR2 Malcom Floyd Eddie Royal
QB Philip Rivers Kellen Clemens
RB Ryan Mathews Donald Brown Branden Oliver Shaun Draughn
Ronnie Brown

Defense

Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano finds a way to help his team win football games. He keeps the opposing defense on their toes, and gets the best out of his players.  San Diego's 15 sacks this season have come from 13 different players.  Even more impressive, their defense has allowed the third-fewest pass yards per game. That wasn't enough against the Broncos on the weekend, who were well and truly put to the sword by the brilliant Peyton Manning, but Pagano has proven time and time again that he can keep offensive units guessing and encourages his unit to make plays that can prove decisive.

As for cornerback Jason Verrett, the 25th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft  exited the stadium against Denver in a sling, and is likely to miss the game against the Dolphins.  He'll be a big loss for the team, who has been one of the Chargers' best defensive players and a candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Position First String Second String Third String
DE Kendall Reyes Ricardo Mathews
NT Sean Lissemore Ryan Carrethers
DT Corey Liuget Tenny Palepoi
OLB Dwight Freeney Jeremiah Attaochu Cordarro Law
ILB Manti Te'o Reggie Walker Andrew Gachkar
ILB Donald Butler Kavell Conner
OLB Jarret Johnson Tourek Williams
CB Brandon Flowers Richard Marshall Steve Williams
CB Shareece Wright Jason Verrett Chris Davis
SS Marcus Gilchrist Jahleel Addae
FS Eric Weddle Darrell Stuckey

Special Teams

Veteran kicker Nick Novak still has a 100 percent record this season, converting 14 from 14 field goals in 8 games.  He's joined by punter Mike Scifres, considered one of the best punters in the NFL by pinning opposing offenses inside their 20 yard line.

Position First String Second String
P Mike Scifres
K Nick Novak
H Mike Scifres Eric Weddle
LS Mike Windt
KR Donald Brown Branden Oliver
PR Eddie Royal Keenan Allen

Alex Parish is an Associate Editor at The Phinsider. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @AlexParish89.