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LA Chargers: Four takeaways from Hard Knocks episode 2

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 19: Darius Bradwell #10 of the Tulane Green Wave runs with the ball during a game against the Houston Cougars at Yulman Stadium on September 19, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 19: Darius Bradwell #10 of the Tulane Green Wave runs with the ball during a game against the Houston Cougars at Yulman Stadium on September 19, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) – LA Chargers

Another week of Hard Knocks brought on more interesting situations for the LA Chargers to handle.

With the second week of Hard Knocks in the books, things are starting to settle in for the LA Chargers. Helmets, some with face shields, were finally able to be worn in practice. The Chargers also moved to their bigger practice facility with padded practices on the horizon.

Here are the four main takeaways from the second episode.

1. The struggle for Rookies and UDFAs

The 2020 NFL season will likely be unfair to many rookies and undrafted guys. In the second episode, we saw a flashback to when Austin Ekeler was #3 for the Chargers instead of #30. He went off in that preseason game against the 49ers and gave the coaches no choice but to put him on the roster. Ekeler describes a special teams play in that game where he was “hauling ass” to the other side of the field.

Unfortunately, very few undrafted free agents will get the type of opportunity than Ekeler got in 2017. Anthony Lynn told Tom Telesco, “I’m just thinking about when we got Austin Ekeler. If we didn’t have four preseason games, we never would’ve saw him.”

It’s just crazy that the difference between being cut and getting a $24 million dollar extension can be as thin as a few plays in one preseason game.

That’s why the preseason isn’t meaningless. Andrew Whitworth talked about how the opportunity just isn’t there for a lot of those unknown players this offseason, and that’s a huge blow to take to a potential NFL career.

Seventh-round linebacker Clay Johnston of the Rams was busting his tail whenever he could to make the team, and he had some moments of visible frustration when he beat himself up over a mistake. Undrafted free agents and late-round picks always have to be perfect, but the margin for error is even thinner now. Speaking of UDFAs…

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