SAN DIEGO (AP) Chargers inside linebackers Donald Butler and Manti Te'o both practiced Thursday and appear to be on track to start against the Cowboys this weekend.
Butler missed last Sunday's loss to the Titans with a groin injury and Te'o, the team's second-round pick, hasn't played since injuring his right foot in the preseason opener on Aug. 8.
The Chargers - ranked 31st in overall defense - could use the help with Dez Bryant and the Cowboys offense coming to town.
"They are good," Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano said. "The quarterback is playing at a high level. They got a running back in (DeMarco) Murray who makes people miss and that gives our defense a big challenge in being able to tackle him. Their skill guys are tops in the league - Jason Witten, Miles Austin."
Among the things the Chargers are trying to address this week is their tackling.
"As a little kid the first thing you learn is to run the football and then tackle the guy with the football," Pagano said. "And we got to do a better job of that and it's about being fundamentally sound. There are going to be great players in this league making people miss. But it's coming in with the proper leverage to try and bring them down."
After blowing fourth-quarter leads in losses to the Texans and Titans, the Chargers want to finish off an opponent.
"There's no panic here," Pagano said. "But it's reality, it happened. And there are two things we got to do: coach better and play better."
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org