First of all, NFL preseason games mean very little – except to the greedy NFL owners who pocket millions of dollars charging full prices for a meaningless exhibition game.

But other than the first offensive drive of San Diego’s opening exhibition game, there really wasn’t much to be impressed by in terms of the play of the Chargers, who suffered a 31-10 loss to the visiting Seattle Seahawks on Thursday.

And even that one strong drive by Philip Rivers and the first-team offense didn’t result in a touchdown as the 13-play excursion that took up half of the first quarter ended with Nick Novak’s 28-yard field goal.

This was Mike McCoy’s initial contest as an NFL head coach – yes, we will say the same phrase when the Chargers line it up for real – and the best thing you can say about seeing him on the field is this: Norv Turner really is gone as San Diego’s head coach.

Also gone is most of the talent that the Chargers possessed in the second half of last decade. It figures to be a long season in San Diego that ends without a postseason appearance for the fourth straight year.

That playoff window has been slammed shut for a few years now – even if the franchise didn’t want to admit to it until sacking Turner and general A.J. Smith after last year’s dismal 7-9 campaign – and it isn’t about to be pried open this season.

After Thursday’s rocky performance, you can expect the Chargers will bring out the excuses about how this was McCoy’s first game as coach and that it will take time for new offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt’s offensive philosophies to be integrated and fully understood by the players.

OK, fine.

But what about the Seahawks? It was Dan Quinn’s first game as Seattle’s defensive coordinator and the Chargers had three measly points entering the final quarter.

Backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst tossed two second-quarter interceptions to help the Seahawks move into the lead and the Seattle players fighting for the final rosters spots were significantly better than the Chargers who are in a similar position.

The second-half dominance by the Seahawks was so prevalent that San Diego general manager Tom Telesco might want to consider picking up some of Seattle’s final cuts to build up his depth-challenged roster.

On that front, San Diego certainly suffered a blow earlier this week when receiver Danario Alexander suffered a season-ending knee surgery. Alexander’s loss means the Chargers may have to rely more on Robert Meachem, a huge disappointment last season.

I’d rather count on Charlie Joiner finding Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth and suiting up before expecting Meachem to earn any of that ridiculous contract the Chargers awarded him. Remember, the franchise let Vincent Jackson get away before desperately signing this stiff and another underachieving wideout in Eddie Royal.

Even though exhibition results don’t matter, there really wasn’t all that much to feel good about in terms of this first game. Rubbing it in is that the stadium was so empty in the fourth quarter you would’ve thought it was a San Diego State game.

It goes without saying that there is plenty of time for improvement. The important thing is that the Chargers don’t look this bad in the first week of the regular season.

Unfortunately, in today’s social media world, the Chargers were taking a pounding for the poor performance. One guy even declared that rookie linebacker Manti Te’o is a bust – after the first quarter of his first preseason game.

Now that is ridiculous.

That’s even more absurd than Dean Spanos pocketing your hard-earned money to watch a meaningless game.

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