The Chargers fell to the Cardinals playing their first game action in months. What can be learned from the team’s 13-17 loss?
The Chargers opened their 2019 NFL preseason slate with a 13-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. With a lot of starters and key players getting limited snaps or not playing at all, it was a great chance to see how some guys lower on the depth chart performed. What could be learned from those reps?
Offensive line/Running backs:
The offensive line is a big concern for Chargers fans, especially considering the unfortunate news with Russell Okung that could force him to miss the first few weeks of the season. One guy everyone has been keeping an eye on is Forrest Lamp, who got to play every snap in the preseason opener (most reps at left guard). Although he did give up some pressure on a few plays, Lamp looked strong in a lot of his reps, especially in the run game. Lamp being out there at all is a big positive for the Chargers, and his increased reps could hopefully help him unlock his full potential. The starting offense (featuring Tyrod Taylor at quarterback) put up 160 total yards in their first two possessions, with some solid blocking by Sam Tevi, Dan Feeney, Michael Schofield, Lamp, and Trent Scott, who filled in for Okung at left tackle. The second and string offensive line looked poor at times, and could be a problem if guys get hurt. Trey Pipkins in particular looked the worst, though that was somewhat expected given his college level of competition.
The depth the Chargers have at the running back position was put on display on Thursday night. Other than Austin Ekeler’s fumble at the goal line in the first quarter, he played well and showed his vision and quickness, while all the running backs on the roster looked solid. Justin Jackson’s touchdown, which featured a key block from Lamp, was a powerful run. Melvin Gordon is a massive part of the team’s red zone offensive scheme, but runs like that remind fans of a potentially bright future with No. 22 leading the way.
The Chargers’ offseason acquisition of Tyrod Taylor was surprising and questionable to some, but he showed on Thursday night why he could turn out to be a great addition. Taylor looked comfortable in all his reps, showing his ability to handle pressure and placing the ball in great spots while also being able to make positive plays with his feet. Taylor finished his one quarter of playing time with 72 passing yards (completing all six of his attempts) and 34 rushing yards on two attempts. Taylor’s best play of the night was a beautiful ball thrown down the left sideline to a spot where only Mike Williams could get it.
Mike Williams going ⬆️ for this one!#LACvsAZ
— PFF (@PFF) August 9, 2019
Cardale Jones looked awful once again, and should get his spot as third quarterback taken by Easton Stick at one point in the preseason. Although Stick did throw a bad interception, he bounced back on the next possession and capped it off with a 31-yard rushing touchdown. The former North Dakota State quarterback showed good composure and made some very solid throws.
Don’t expect much shift in the depth chart when it comes to the wide receivers, no one really stood out too much. The battle for the spots behind Travis Benjamin for fourth wide receiver should continue throughout training camp. Geremy Davis and Artavis Scott were expected to be featured in this game, but netted a combined one catch for three yards and one rush for zero yards. Someone needs to step up, or guys like Malachi Dupre, who led the team in receiving yards, could begin to put pressure on their chance at a roster spot.