Turner happy with Chargers' first-string offense

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Chargers coach Norv Turner said he's pleased with the performance of his first-team offense as the exhibition season winds down.

Although the Chargers lost 36-21 at New Orleans on Friday night, Turner said the first-string offense was sharp.

''That was a good example of what we can be,'' Turner said Saturday. ''There are things we can clean up, but I'm happy with how we've played. That was as close to a regular season game as you can get through 2 1/2 quarters, and I thought we were sharp.''

The defense, however, allowed the Saints to gain 552 yards.

The focus remained on the progress of rookie running back Ryan Mathews. While his numbers were down, the No. 12 overall draft pick showcased physical skills and an ability to learn from his mistakes. He turned a few broken plays into positive gains and made strides in pass blocking. He sealed the pocket by blocking a linebacker on a play similar to one a week before, when he missed an assignment that got quarterback Philip Rivers sacked.

''Even though his numbers weren't as good as they've been in other games, I thought he gave his best performance,'' Turner said. ''He's really getting comfortable with our group and has an understanding of what we're doing. New Orleans was geared up with a complicated blitz package. They treated it like a regular-season game early. It's clear he's growing comfortable with what we want to do.''

Left tackle Brandyn Dombrowski's performance has also been heavily analyzed. The second-year pro is under the microscope while succeeding Marcus McNeill, a restricted free agent who's holding out in protest of his contract status.

''I think it's going to be an over-evaluated position,'' Turner said. ''If Marcus played left tackle last night like Brandyn did, everyone would've said we got a good game out of our left tackle. I'm going to look at his production alone. He got beat inside on a couple plays, but nothing was major and there was nothing that can't be fixed. I thought he played well.''

Tagged: Chargers

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