Friday marked the last preseason game for the Chargers. The last chance for some to make their mark before final roster cuts. And with a loss to the Saints 10 to 27, there weren’t that many standouts on the Chargers side, so some of these players may have to rely on their other preseason and training camp performances to solidify their spots. Below, we’ll look at some of the good and bad of this final preseason performance.
Tale Of Two Rushing Attacks
Especially in the first drive, the Chargers seemed to have trouble stopping the Saints’ run game. Now, the Saints had a bulk of their starters in the game, including Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. However, the bleeding didn’t stop even when their starters left the game. According to Pro Football Focus, the Saints had 22 first downs to the Chargers’ 11.
Overall, the Chargers had 64 rushing yards compared to the Saints’ 161. And because of the lack of protection by the offensive line, both Easton Stick and Chase Daniel had to get the ball off pretty quickly, so the fact that the Chargers’ running backs weren’t able to gain much yardage from those quick handoffs and check-downs, was disappointing. There was a bright spot though on the running back front and that was Joshua Kelley.
Joshua Kelley Cements His Status
Though Larry Rountree was the one with the touchdown and had the same amount of carries as Kelley, it was Kelley who shined a brighter on Friday night – as he has throughout the summer. On the Chargers’ second drive, Kelley had a great run and cinematic leap over a defender to gain just a few extra yards. And in the second quarter, he was breaking tackles and made a few good gains. Overall, he was the leader in rushing yards at 40 on a night when rushing didn’t get the Chargers very far. Kelley has been making a good impression these past few games and is turning into a very reliable player.
Michael Bandy‘s Future In Question
Michael Bandy has arguably been THE standout of these preseason games for the Chargers. But he was a little quiet in this game. To be fair, he didn’t have nearly as many opportunities to stand out. He only had 30 receiving yards and was targeted just once more than Jalen Guyton, who barely played past the first few drives. Brandon Staley said during his post-game press conference after Dallas, that “Michael Bandy’s been a real bright spot for us in the preseason.” It’s unclear if even with that high praise from Staley and Bandy’s previous two preseason games if he’s done enough to make the team.
Tackling Issues Continue For The Team’s Third Round Pick
JT Woods has been struggling when it comes to his tackling and this game didn’t prove that he was improving. During the second quarter, Woods made a tackle on Marquez Callaway, but Callaway broke it and Kemon Hall had to make the definitive tackle to stop the run. And in the third quarter, Woods was in coverage on Lucas Krull and made a good tackle, but Krull still caught the ball beforehand, so it didn’t really do much to stop the gain. Staley said during his press conference on Day 17 of training camp, that there would be lots of types of tackles that Woods would have to make, and that he just has to be willing to put in the work, and Staley thinks he is in fact willing. Based on these last few preseason performances, I would lean more in the direction that Woods isn’t truly ready to be counted upon in key moments, as it seems like he just needs more development before he can really make an impact.
Chargers Preseason Recap: Stagnant Against Saints – Image Via Ty Nowell