Chargers loser: Cardale Jones
The Chargers took a low-risk gamble on Jones in 2017 when they traded a conditional draft pick to the Bills for the former college national champion. Since then? Not much improvement. The indecisiveness in the pocket and the lack of speed to make up for it is killer. Jones has to understand that these last three preseason games aren’t just make or break for his future with the Chargers, but for his future anywhere in the league.
Trying the experiment was worth it since the Chargers gave up nothing for him. But when a low-cost experiment doesn’t work, it’s time to admit it didn’t. Taylor is the backup, and Stick is a real project with potential at this point. Jones may crack the practice squad with the Chargers or be cut outright, but he has no spot on this roster. There’s nothing he can really show the team in the last three games that he hasn’t shown in the last two years. He’s inaccurate, slow, and has a lack of awareness in the pocket.
Chargers winner: Austin Ekeler
The story of the Chargers’ offseason has been and still is Melvin Gordon’s holdout. While Gordon figures out his contract situation and his NFL future, Ekeler and Jackson still had to play. Ekeler ran the ball five times for 40 yards and caught three passes for 29 yards. His fumble close to the goal line wasn’t great, but Ekeler looked a little bit quicker and more dynamic in the rest of his reps.
Should fans be at the point where they believe Ekeler is close to Gordon? Maybe not until after he shows this type of performance in the regular season as the lead back. But as a preseason tune-up for a potential season where he’s the workhorse for 16 games, he looked terrific.