The Los Angeles Chargers will open their second stint as a Los Angeles team on Sunday when they play their first home game in the city in 56 years. They will play this season in their temporary home, the LA Galaxy’s Major League Soccer designed StubHub center, with around a 30,000 seat capacity, by far the smallest home stadium in the NFL, and they will do it in a city where the Los Angeles Rams are also trying to build a fan base.
They are also looking to rebound and avoid an 0-2 start to the 2017 season after a 24-21 loss to the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football last week, a game that gives then a short week turnaround before facing the Miami Dolphins, who did not have a game last week due to Hurricane Irma.
All of those seem like they could be problems the Chargers have to overcome this year. One thing they do not seem to be worried about is Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler, who will make his debut with his new team when the Dolphins and Chargers kickoff. Cutler, who was expected to be a broadcaster this year, was talked out of retirement and a return to football when the Dolphins lost quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the year with a knee injury. Going into his 12th season in the league, Cutler brings with him a basic knowledge of head coach Adam Gase’s offensive system, having played for Gase in 2015 when the coach was the Chicago Bears’ offensive coordinator. He also, with the additional week off before the start of the season, has essentially a full training camp under him in Miami now, making up for the week he missed pre-Tannehill’s injury.
When asked about the kinds of problems Cutler could pose for the Chargers, Los Angeles defensive end Melvin Ingram was fairly succinct with his response. “None,” he told reporters. “We don’t see him as a problem for us.”
In 2015, Cutler - with Gase - faced the Chargers as a member of the Bears. Ingram recorded a sack, the only one on the day for he Chargers, along with five tackles and a forced fumble. Cutler threw for 245 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, giving him a 100.5 passer rating for the game. Chicago won the Monday Night Football game 22-19.
Cutler and the Dolphins offense have not shown much in the preseason, keeping their play calling, and even the time Cutler was on the field, to a minimum. They are expected to go more no-huddle and up-tempo this year, with the offense fully on the same page a year into Gase’s term with the team. They should be able to press the Chargers on Sunday, and, hopefully, wear out the defense - including Ingram.
And, by the end of the game, Cutler could be a problem once again for the Chargers.