By Cameron Buford | Whatsgoodinsports.com
The Los Angeles Chargers would kick off their pre-season games by facing the other team that calls SoFi stadium home, just as they did a season ago. The Rams and the Chargers will meet late in the season, likely much more on the line than we saw on Saturday night. Although, we knew going into the game that many starters on either team would not be playing.
Though the Rams pulled out a narrow 29-22 win over the Chargers, the score was largely inconsequential as the goal for both teams was to get a better look at some of their young talent. I wanted to see Chargers rookie Isaiah Spiller get some carries in the NFL. I wanted to see how the offensive line plays in the running game specifically. Lastly, I am concerned with the inside linebacker position.
“I thought that they all got some good work,” Staley said about how their running backs performed on Saturday night. “I thought that Isaiah [Spiller] had a couple of good runs in traffic, where it was crowded.”
The Charger’s offensive line only allowed two sacks on the night, enabling their quarterbacks to throw for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns on a 67.5 completion percentage. However, minus a Chase Daniels scramble for 22 yards, their running backs rushed for a combined 64 yards for an average of 3.2 yards per carry. It would seem to be challenging for the coaches to evaluate their offensive line and the running backs considering the lineup changes.
“We have two very-good offensive lines that played today. We think that the quality of the line gave us the chance to move the ball in both phases,” said Staley in support of his offensive line and their ability to get an accurate assessment of the running backs group. “We’re going to get a very accurate evaluation of those backs.”
As for their inside linebacker position, Kenneth Murray, their number one draft pick from 2020, didn’t play as he is healing from surgery, he had over the summer that kept him out of 6 games last season. Nor did veteran linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who they picked up in the off-season, or 2019 fourth-round pick Drue Tranquill play in this game. Van Noy and Tranquill have been penciled in as the Chargers starters at linebackers.
A concern that arose from this pre-season game was the inability of the Chargers to get the ball carrier on the ground! Whether in the open field, in traffic, or at the point of contact, that game Saturday night gave credence to this growing concern. Understand that they want to preserve the players’ bodies, and the pounding these players’ bodies will go through.
“It’s that modern-day question that every coach has to go through, every organization has to go through, because it’s a big part of the game, getting guys on the ground. But the way it is now, it’s just a topic that is always going to be up for debate,” Staley says about the quandary he, and other NFL coaches, are in regards to improving tackling on their teams. “The games give you that chance to get out there live and experience it. Certainly, our guys felt that tonight, what it is like the truly finish live. There is a difference.”
“That’s why training camp, there’s a month of it, month-plus of it, three games. You take a lot of pride in teaching the best you can, but until they do it live to the ground; you have to learn your lessons. We learned some tonight,” Staley said in support of the need for pre-season games to prepare for the season.
What are your thoughts on the Chargers initial pre-season game? Is there a player or position group that you are focused on? Let us know your thoughts on these Chargers by reaching out to me on Twitter @_voiceofthefans, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.