The LA Chargers opened the 2023 preseason against the LA Rams and won the team's first preseason game of Brandon Staley's coaching career. The outcome of the game does not matter but it is still nice to see the Bolts walk away with a 34-17 victory.
The performances at the individual level are far more important for the 2023 season and there were some truly great performances. When a team scores 34 points there are going to be some standouts from the action.
However, not everything is positive, as there is one loser from the first preseason game as well. Let's dive into it.
Chargers winner: Derius Davis
The Chargers selected Derius Davis in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft because of his athleticism and the impact he would have on special teams. Davis instantly showed the value he is going to bring in special teams, returning a punt 81 yards to the house in the second quarter.
Not every punt return is the same. Some punt returns happen because the returner is explosive and finds the seams in coverage. Other punt returns happen because of the blocking in front of them and a lack of execution by the opossing team.
While the blocking was certainly solid (thanks, Ryan Ficken), this was an example of an elite athlete doing what he does best and winning with his speed. The way Davis dummied the Rams into a sense of security only to instantly turn on the jets was beautiful.
The Chargers special teams unit enjoyed a massive turnaround in 2023 because of Ficken. With Davis as the main return man now the sky really could be the limit for the Bolts on that side of the ball.