The LA Chargers host the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2 of the preseason after hosting the team for two days for joint practices. There were some huge winners, and some losers, from those joint practices and now we get a more realistic game setting.
Unlike practice, though, a lot of the starters will not be playing in this game for the Bolts. Brandon Staley announced before the preseason even began that Justin Herbert, Derwin James, Keenan Allen and several others would not be playing in a single preseason game.
There were some starters to watch in Week 1 against the Rams but not as many as a typical preseason would yield. This week will likely be even fewer as the Chargers' main goal at this stage is to stay healthy for Week 1 of the regular season.
That does not mean that there will not be excitement in the air in this game, however. There is always something to take away from preseason games and I am expected this game to be an absolute showcase for the LA Chargers rookies.
Expect the LA Chargers 2021 draft class to ball out in this game against the San Francisco 49ers.
We have already touched on why the LA Chargers rookie class has all the makings of being a truly special class and that will shine through in this game. This game has all the makings of being a big one for the rookies, making fans even more excited for the start of the regular season.
First-round pick Rashawn Slater will not be playing in this game. The Chargers are being cautious with his health and are holding him out of this game after holding him out of joint practice.
That is the one thing that dampers this. Otherwise, expect to get really excited about the future of the LA Chargers.
Asante Samuel had a huge first day of joint practice against the 49ers, coming away with two interceptions in the effort. While he had no takeaways on day two, I am expecting the second-round pick to make a play on the ball in this one that we will all talk about after the game.
Samuel's picks from practice weren't just lucky picks where the quarterback threw it straight to him, either. Samuel's coverage has been really good during camp and in one interception, in particular, he baited the quarterback like he was a 10-year NFL veteran.
I predict this to be a coming-out party for Tre' McKitty as well. McKitty has been the quietest of the rookies during camp but that is simply because he has not really gotten the chance to stand out with a deep tight end room.
While I do not think it will lead to him shooting up the depth chart, this will be the first time during camp and the preseason where Charger fans are getting legitimately excited about McKitty.
More importantly, though, is Josh Palmer. I was not a fan of the Palmer selection and I bring that up only to say that thus far he is making me eat crow. While he has only played one preseason game, he looked really good in that preseason game for a rookie and is arguably already the second-best route-runner on the entire team.
Just like against the Rams, I expect Palmer to lead the team in receptions in this one.
Leading the team in rushing yards is likely going to be Larry Rountree. While he still has a lot of work to do to win the RB2 job, the doors are wide open for him to do so, especially if he continues with strong performances in the preseason.
He is still raw in some areas but his ability to recognize running lanes and burst through them is a welcome sign after seeing how Joshua Kelley played last year and continues to play this year. At this point, I much prefer Rountree over Kelley.
Brenden Jaimes has been great for LA not only in showing his versatility but playing quality snaps as well. It is one thing to be versatile, it is another thing to be versatile and good.
Mark Webb is making his debut in this game and that will be interesting to watch as well as Nick Niemann likely getting more snaps on the defense than he did against the Rams.
All in all, this game presents a big opportunity for the LA Chargers rookies and all signs are pointing to them hitting it out of the park.