Lesson 4: Expect a leap from Chris Rumph in 2022
The scouting reports on Chris Rumph coming out of college were pretty clear that he was not expected to be an immediate contributor in 2021.
"Needs better strength," "Lacks desired weight," and "Lack of mass" were the biggest negatives marking Rumph's scouting reports. While there was hope that he could use his length to contribute some in 2021 given the need for an edge rusher opposite of Joey Bosa, that hope for Rumph seemed a bit premature.
However, one offseason later, Rumph looks like an entirely new player. Joey Bosa said it best: "He's not a string bean anymore; he's an asparagus stalk now"
Against Rams, the asparagus stalk showed his length and newfound strength. One of the best displays of his new strength came early in the game when Rumph shed the Rams' Kendall Blanton blocking on the edge and maintained gap integrity for a nice run stop.
His lack of ability to set the edge against the run made him near unplayable in 2021, but Rumph has shown a massive improvement in the run department in this preseason game.
Chris Rumph impressed the Chargers' staff
While these moves are coming against backups, this is a massive improvement from what we saw in 2022 from Rumph. We should not expect this level of production from Rumph in the regular season, but the fact that he is bulked up and active shows that he is ready to take on a role as Khalil Mack's backup in 2022.
5. Michael Bandy, Joe Reed may change the math on cutdown day
Before Saturday night, it felt like a given that the Chargers wide receiver room would ultimately come down to Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Josh Palmer, Jalen Guyton, and Deandre Carter. While nobody in that group did anything to lose their spot, two players behind this group made statements as to why they should be under consideration for placement in this group.
After two seasons of its absence, the speed and versatility of Reed finally appeared for the Chargers in this preseason game, particularly on a long touchdown catch from Chase Daniel for the first points of the day.
While Reed was a clear positive on the day, the Chargers' offense shockingly ran through Bandy for most of the night. Not only was Bandy the main catalyst for the offense, but he was also actually an effective catalyst as the offense was fairly effective most of the night when Bandy was in charge.
Michael Bandy had seven catches for 73 yards and a touchdown, clearly highlighted by his Keenan Allen-esque whip route that left his defender completely lost for a touchdown.
While these performances are important, the special teams abilities of these players is likely more important to determining if they have a real shot to get a roster spot over other bubble players like Larry Rountree and Mark Webb.
Reed may have a tough route in the regard, as his return ability may not be deeply valued with Carter already on the roster. Reed has had some time at gunner, and he will need to specialize in his kick coverage to make the roster. The same goes for Bandy, did see some time in kick coverage on Saturday night.