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Los Angeles Chargers preseason debut: 3 positive takeaways

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 11: Quarterback Geno Smith #3 of the Los Angeles Chargers drops back to pass during the preseason NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on August 11, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 11: Quarterback Geno Smith #3 of the Los Angeles Chargers drops back to pass during the preseason NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on August 11, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Chargers made their 2018 preseason debut this past weekend in Arizona against the Cardinals. Despite the final result ending in a 24-17 victory for the Cardinals, there were still some positive highlights for the Chargers

Competitive Quarterback Play – The Chargers started off the game with Cardale Jones under center who seemed uneasy through his first few pass attempts but managed to stay calm and run the offense smoothly, avoiding any interceptions. Jones finished the game 6-of12 on pass attempts with 50 yards through the air and another 15 yards on the ground from three rushing attempts. Jones’ ability to scramble and make plays with his legs was certainly on display and there’s no doubt he can keep the play alive when under pressure.

Geno Smith took the field following Jones in the second quarter. Smith put on an impressive display of composure in the pocket, showing great poise delivering his passes with great velocity and accuracy. Smith was a pleasant bright spot for the Bolts, finishing the game 14-of-23 on pass attempts  for 218 passing yards with one touchdown and one interception.

It is great to see both backups produce in the first preseason outing providing reason to believe that there will be a healthy competition to see who can claim second spot on the depth chart behind Philip Rivers.

Impressive Receiving Corps – Even without the likes of Keenan Allen (rest), Hunter Henry (injured), and other first-string receivers, the Chargers’ pass-catching offense performed very well against the Cardinals.

It seemed all eyes were on Mike Williams, the former first-round pick who is entering his second season in the NFL after struggling with injuries for most of last year. Williams seemed healthy and back to his normal self after catching two passes for 18 total yards. Williams showed no fear with a great display of his overall size and strength by catching passes in traffic and absorbing contact effectively.

Other receivers such as Artavis Scott, five catches for 44 yards, and Sean Culkin, two catches for 22 yards, showed their ability to be impact players by making impressive grabs throughout the game.

The highlight for the Chargers, though, may have been Connecticut alumni Geremy Davis. The 26- year old Davis caught four passes for 88 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown pass from Smith. Davis showed his ability to produce chunk plays for the Chargers with his phenomenal vertical leap up and behind the defender, securing the ball for the touchdown.

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Impressive Rookies – The Chargers’ highly anticipated first-round pick, Derwin James, and second-round pick, Uchenna Nwosu, made their NFL preseason debuts against the Cardinals and looked very impressive in doing so.

Nwosu recorded two tackles and one sack in a game where it seemed like he was all over the field and continuing to keep the pressure on the Cardinals offense. James made his presence known with two tackles as well, including a visibly strong tackle on the Cardinals’ D.J. Foster in the second quarter to force a fourth down.

The Chargers fourth-round pick, Kyzir White, also showed his potential with two tackles.

The Chargers have many positive notes to reflect on after their first preseason outing against the  Cardinals. These were three of the major highlights to keep an eye on as things progress heading toward the season opener. Be sure to keep your eye on the Chargers this coming weekend as they face the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday night.

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