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LA Chargers: 5 Quick Hit Lessons from Preseason Week 1

By Tyler Gallagher
Los Angeles Chargers Training Camp
Los Angeles Chargers Training Camp / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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Joshua Kelley
Los Angeles Chargers Training Camp / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

2. The fight for the outside CB2 position may not be wrapped up

Throughout training camp, the starting corners' reports were mainly the same. JC Jackson and Asante Samuel Jr. were on the outside with Bryce Callahan working in the slot. Michael Davis has seemed like the clear fourth man, mostly taking reps with the first team when Jackson and Samuel needed a breather.

However, this preseason game appeared to show that this competition may not yet be completely wrapped up.

Brandon Staley said before this game that only individuals who did not have a completely established spot and were still proving themselves would be playing. So, if Samuel did have his spot as a starter locked up, one would imagine that he would be resting throughout the preseason, particularly considering his recent concussion history.

However, for much of the first half, it was Davis on one side and Samuel on the other.

Who will start at CB for the Chargers?

That may suggest that the two are still in a competition over the second starting outside corner spot. The performance gap between the two was not large, and I would argue that Davis was the better player against the Rams.

Both players were frequently in position against the Rams' receivers, but it was Samuel who looked like the less experienced player out there. Against receiver Lance McCutcheon, Samuel had excellent coverage, but he got called for a deep pass interference penalty due to his inability to turn his head around.

While this is just one isolated incident, defensive pass interference is a massive no-no in the NFL, and it can really kill defenses. Unless Samuel Jr. can avoid doing this in the coming weeks, the CB2 position may not be wrapped up as we previously thought.

3. Joshua Kelley is the RB2 until further notice

While Austin Ekeler is clearly entrenched as the Chargers' starter at running back, the competition for the second running back slot has been raging on through training camp.

Many of us expected it to be an inevitability that Isaiah Spiller would eventually fill that role. However, reports from training camp have been quick to highlight Kelley as a possible leader for the role.

We all remember Kelley's unfortunate rookie season. He started off hot, looking explosive and powerful in the first two games before running into fumble issues that led to a lack of confidence and massive regression from Kelley. The regression was so severe that the Chargers drafted a back again in 2021 in Larry Rountree and again in 2022 with Isaiah Spiller.

For the time being, it looks like early 2020 Kelley is back and ready to be a contributor for the Chargers in 2022.

Every time Kelley was handed the ball, you could see his vision on display, as he searched for the right hole. When one was available, he clearly exploded towards it in a way that was completely absent in the past after his fumble issues.

Kelley had six touches (three rushes and three receptions) totaling 44 yards before being given the rest of the night off fairly early in the contest.

While Spiller had a fairly impressive performance in his own right and might be mixed in more in passing situations, Kelley looks like he has the RB2 position firmly in his grasp, and only a change in his performance looks likely to alter that status.

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