Chargers Preseason Preview: Chargers Take On The Rams At SoFi

The Los Angeles Chargers take on the Los Angeles Rams tonight at SoFi Stadium for their first preseason game. Here is who we are excited to watch!

Chase Bendel
Los Angeles Chargers Training Camp. Photo Credit: Ryan Dyrud | LAFB Network
Los Angeles Chargers Training Camp. Photo Credit: Ryan Dyrud | LAFB Network

Chargers Preseason Preview

The Chargers will be taking on the defending Super Bowl champions, the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams under Sean McVay have not played their main starters in the preseason. Following in his footsteps, Brandon Staley has not played and doesn’t plan on playing his main starters as well. This is the route that a lot of the younger coaches in the NFL are beginning to adopt.

While the preseason games may not be as exciting without getting to see the best players playing, it provides more opportunities for players competing for a spot on the team.

Now that the preseason is only three games, it’s extremely important for players on the cusp of making the team or getting cut to perform very well in the first game. This game can make or break many players’ seasons.

In addition to this, it is also a crucial time for players that are competing for a starting spot or a key backup role.

I will be going into 4 different things that I am going to be looking forward to watching in the game, whether that is a specific player or multiple players competing for a spot.

1 – Breiden Fehoko

Myself, along with many others, believed that Breiden Fehoko deserved to make the roster last season on a permanent basis. He had a really good camp last year and played well when given opportunities to prove himself. He has built upon that this season, and, according to reports from training camp, has seemed to separate himself from the other defensive lineman that are competing for a roster spot. He has reportedly been constantly making plays in the backfield and being part of other splash plays.

The reason I look forward to watching him is to see if he can continue to build on his great practices. The team recently released its first “unofficial” depth chart and didn’t have Breiden near as high as I believe he should be. I want to see Breiden dominate in this game and continue to prove that he belongs as a mainstay on the 53-man roster this upcoming season.

2 – Battle For Right Tackle

By far the most important position battle on the team during training camp is the starting right tackle spot. It really seems to be the only starting position that is truly being competed for. The players that are competing there are Storm Norton and Trey Pipkins.

Last season, Storm started nearly every game and had games where he would look serviceable, and then games where he seemed to be the reason the offense would fall apart. Pipkins has been rather disappointing during his time with the team.

Many coaches are talking about both players taking strides this offseason and looking better prepared for the starting job. It is important that not only someone wins the job, but that whoever does is able to compete at a much higher level than they have previously.

I ultimately believe that Pipkins wins the job, but in this game, I am looking forward to seeing the consistency from the players when they are in, and who has better communication with the lineman they are playing next to.

3 – Special Teams

This isn’t meant for a specific player or anything, but I am very excited to see how every part of the special teams performs in this game. The Chargers always have a very below-average unit with historically some of the worst in NFL history. If the Chargers truly have Super Bowl aspirations, they simply can not have a below-average unit anymore.

When it comes down to the last few roster spots, a lot of it comes down to what they can bring to the table on special teams. The Chargers had a very difficult time flipping the field whether it was them punting or them returning a punt. The coaches and players have been bringing up special teams constantly this offseason, and I am excited to see what is being implemented.

4 – JT Woods

Every year there is a rookie on the team that I consider “my guy”. This player is never who they pick in the first round, rather someone that is picked between rounds 3-5 that seems like just another player on the team. Last year, my guy was Josh Palmer, and this year it is JT Woods.

There are a lot of things you can teach in the NFL, but natural instincts and pure athletic ability are things that can’t be taught. Woods has a ton of athletic ability and can fly all over the field, I love watching his tape; you always see him flying around making plays.

Woods seemed to have a slow start to camp but has really been making more noise recently. Woods playing at a higher level would just give Staley another piece to his defense that he can use to keep offenses guessing with how many playmakers will be in the secondary.

I will be looking for how much he is playing, where he will be primarily lining up, and really how much freedom Staley is going to let him play with. I really think he is someone that will be able to be a high-level contributor as a backup this season, and I can’t wait to see what he looks like in game action.

Concluding Thoughts

There are so many players I am excited to see where it is difficult to narrow everything down. A lot of people don’t enjoy the preseason, and while it may not be close to what the regular season offers, I love watching the pure passion from players that are quite literally fighting for a job. I’m looking forward to seeing who takes the lead on the right tackle job, the backup running back spot, and what players will be high-level contributors that we may not be talking about currently.