The Chargers officially kickstart the preseason on Saturday against the LA Rams. While the outcome of the game does not matter, fans can learn a lot about the team in the preseason, especially at the individual level.
This is Brandon Staley's third preseason as the head coach of the Chargers and the team has never won a preseason game. Staley is often very conservative with the starters that he throws out in the preseason, which fans respect because of the orgnization's bad injury luck.
Staley all but confirmed that Justin Herbert was not going to play (that was obvious) but he did not reveal who was going to play and sit out the day before the game at training camp. Perhaps Staley is having a slight change of heart and might get more veterans on the field against the Rams.
Fans should hope that isn't the case and that Staley isn't following in the footsteps of the Kansas City Chiefs. Despite having absolutely nothing to prove, the Chiefs are going to throw the offensive starters out there to begin the preseason.
Chargers must avoid the same needless preseason mistake as the Chiefs
It really does not make sense as to why the Chiefs are taking the needless risk of playing the offensive starters in the preseason. Granted, they are the defending Super Bowl Champions and it is hard to critique the organization because of it but it still is a needless mistake.
All it takes is one injury to a significant Chiefs player for it to instantly blow up in Reid's face and make the entire league question what he was thinking. The Chiefs have two of the most valuable players in the entire league in Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce. One of them getting hurt in a pointless game is a nightmare.
We already know that Herbert is not playing (at least not in the first preseason week) and Staley must avoid changing course. It does not matter that the Chiefs won the Super Bowl and have been more successful. It isn't because they are playing their starters in the preseason. That is just a needless risk.
The Chargers had some of the worst injury luck in the entire NFL last season. The last thing the team needs to do is open the door for that to carry into 2023 before the regular season even begins.