The Chargers ended the 2022 preseason with a 27-10 loss on Friday in New Orleans.
They lost all three of their August games, which means nothing as very few of their starters played.
The Chargers will now open the regular season on Sept. 11 against Las Vegas at SoFi Stadium before four days later visiting Kansas City for a Thursday night game.
Here are some observations from the Chargers’ preseason finale:
- Unlike the Chargers, the Saints played several of their starters, including quarterback Jameis Winston and running back Alvin Kamara on offense, and edge rusher Cameron Jordan and safety Tyrann Mathieu on defense.
- The Chargers defensive starters were DL Breiden Fehoko, DL Christian Covington, edge rusher Emeke Egbule, edge rusher Jamal Davis II, LB Nick Niemann, LB Troy Reeder, CB Kemon Hall, CB Brandon Sebastian, CB Ja’Sir Taylor, S Raheem Layne and SJT Woods.
- Given the difference in talent and experience, it was unsurprising that Winston and the New Orleans offense threw 75 yards in nine games to score the game’s first touchdown on the opening drive.
- Storm Norton started in left tackle as the Chargers continue to groom him to be their swing tackle to open the season. He and Trey Pipkins III fought for the No. 1 job in right tackle, with Pipkins winning. Pipkins also started on Friday. Norton was called to hold the Chargers’ second drive.
- The Chargers’ remaining offensive starters were QB Chase Daniel, RB Larry Rountree III, FB Zander Horvath, WR DeAndre Carter, WR Jalen Guyton, TE Tre’ McKitty, LG Brenden Jaimes, C Will Clapp, and RG Zion Johnson.
- Joshua Kelley has made the strongest argument yet that he could be Austin Ekeler’s primary Week 1 backup. He carried six times for 40 yards before leaving the game after two quarters. Kelley’s production included a safety by Marcus Maye on 15-yard gain to open the second quarter. The spectacular climax converted a third and a 14th place finish as the Chargers scored their first goal. The run was also the longest of the previous season by a Chargers running back. As of Friday’s start, the team’s two longest runs had come from quarterbacks Daniel (22 yards) and Easton Stick (25 yards). Kelley, Larry Rountree III and Isaiah Spiller fought for second running back spot throughout training camp. Spiller is now struggling with an ankle injury, with manager Brandon Staley saying this week he may not be ready for the start of the season.
- JT Woods had an opportunity to attack Mark Ingram II on the second drive from New Orleans with a loss but couldn’t stop. Ingram hit a two-yard run on the next play. Tackling was an issue for Woods in his freshman season. Woods, who was picked in the third round in April, is trying to earn the coaching staff’s trust, with his ability to be a reliable tackler a key part of the equation. Woods had another missed tackle in the second quarter when he failed to bring down wide receiver Marquez Callaway in third place. The Saints came up short and had to punt.
- Fehoko has made a major push to secure a roster spot on the defensive line. Among his highlights on Friday was a tackle for a three-yard loss on a run by Tony Jones Jr. in the second quarter. The Chargers could choose to keep Fehoko over Covington, a veteran who played extensively throughout the preseason.
- Daniel played the first half and finished 10 of 11 for 113 yards and a 109.5 rating. Stick replaced him, walking nine of 17 for 74 yards. Daniel will open the season as Justin Herbert’s backup. Stick is expected to make up the 53-man squad.
- Hall left the game late in the first half after hitting the back of his head on the turf.
- Wide receiver Joe Reed was dressed for the game but didn’t play.
- NFL teams are required to reduce their rosters to 53 players by 1 p.m. PT Tuesday. The Chargers are expected to begin moves as early as Sunday.
Jeff Miller reported from Los Angeles.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/chargers/story/2022-08-26/joshua-kelley-chargers-nfl-preseason-takeaways-new-orleans-saints Chargers end preseason winless: Takeaways from loss to Saints