Chargers Preseason: Week 3 Standouts From The Win Over The 49ers

The Chargers preseason ended on a positive note. What players did the same?

The Los Angeles Chargers preseason ended with a win against the 49ers, 23 to 12 and there were a few players that stood out above all the rest:

Week 3 Chargers Preseason Standouts

  1. Running Back, Joshua Kelley

Kelley pulled an “Elijah Dotson” this week, when on the fourth drive of the first quarter he got the ball, cut up the middle, and ran along the sideline into the end zone for 75 yards. Kelley has been quieter during these preseason games but this may be what he needed to secure the number two running back position.

  1. Cornerback Deane Leonard

Leonard was mostly on special teams during the regular season but has made his presence known in these preseason games. His big play this past game happened on the 49ers first drive where running back Jordan Mason was going over the goal line, but he fumbled, and Leonard was right there to pick it up.

Leonard’s performance wasn’t perfect. When he was in coverage during the second quarter wide receiver Chris Conley leaped and caught a deep ball for a 34-yard gain, but the catch was too low to intercept and Leonard was on his mark.

And he missed a tackle on wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk who broke another tackle before being taken down by linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga. Leonard though has shown some aggressive play during this offseason. He’s done some good things on special teams and it looks like he’s coming out of his shell as a player, so it’ll be interesting to see if he’ll get some non special teams opportunities this year.

NFL: Preseason-Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams
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  1. Wide Receiver Derius Davis

Though Davis hasn’t had a repeat punt return touchdown since the first preseason game, he’s still been showing off that speed. During the second quarter, he took a quick handoff and broke some tackles for a 16-yard gain. It was his longest run of the night, and throughout training camp and these games he’s shown the mechanics to be a good receiver, he just needs a little more time to develop.

  1. Linebacker Daiyan Henley

Henley has been showing off his coverage and tackling abilities in these last few games and this past game was no different. During the second drive of the third quarter, Sam Darnold rolled out to his left to avoid pressure and threw it in the end zone to tight end Cameron Latu, and Henley broke up the pass.

And on the 49ers next drive, as Brandon Allen was in at quarterback, he threw and was aiming for wide receiver Tay Martin and cornerback Cam Brown got his hand on the ball and Henley caught the deflected pass for his first interception. Henley has also picked up the slack in these last couple of games when others have missed tackles. He’s going to make a great depth piece as the Chargers head into the season.

NFL: Preseason-New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Chargers
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  1. Safety JT Woods

Woods has redeemed himself from that unsportsmanlike conduct call from the first game. Towards the end of the second quarter, he had a good tackle on running back Tyrion Davis-Price for an immediate stop. According to Pro Football Focus, he had six solo tackles and two STOPs this game and last. He only had one STOP during preseason in 2022 and played more snaps last year than this year. He’s grown as a player and his tackling has improved. I’m less worried about the Chargers playing him this year as it seems like he has more command of his position.

  1. Quarterback Max Duggan

Duggan had his best game of the preseason on Friday. In the third quarter, he had a 20-yard scramble where he ran out left and up the sideline to the 11-yard line. And then a couple of plays later he got it inside the five. In that same drive after getting out of the pocket while in double coverage, he made a completion to tight end Hunter Kampmoyer for a touchdown.

He had a few nice completions while under pressure along with another long scramble down the sideline during the fourth quarter. He ended the game with few passing yards but one passing touchdown and 51 rushing yards. Unfortunately, that was not enough for him to make the roster, but he’s definitely shown that he has the talent to be molded into a quality backup.

  1. Kickers Cameron Dicker and Dustin Hopkins

Both Dicker and Hopkins had another perfect night. Hopkins made both extra points attempted and the one field goal attempted while Dicker made the two field goals attempted. Hopkins has come back strong from his injury and Dicker has stayed steady. Considering Hopkins was just traded to the Browns for a 2025 seventh-round draft pick, it looks like Dicker has finally won the kicker battle. I’m looking forward to seeing him play for a whole season.

NFL: Preseason-New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Chargers
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  1. Cornerback Cam Brown

Brown seemed to be everywhere on Friday night. He was responsible for the deflected pass that led to Henley’s interception. And during that same drive, since the 49ers were out of healthy kickers and went for a two-point conversion after the touchdown, Brown was there to shut that down too. During the fourth quarter, despite wide receiver Isaiah Winstead still having the reception, Brown did have some tight coverage on him during the catch. Brown came through in some key moments and has been pretty consistent, and though that wasn’t enough to secure him a roster spot, he’s been exciting to watch.