Through two preseason games, the Chargers haven't exactly put out the performance you’d like to see. They were routed by the Seattle Seahawks two weeks ago, then followed that up with another mediocre outing against the New Orleans Saints.
Although preseason games don’t count, the Chargers need to show vast improvements against the Rams on Saturday. Outside of the first offensive drive in the Seahawks game, it’s been very hard to find a lot of positives about this team so far.
Yes, it’s still preseason and the team isn’t 100% healthy right now, but, the difference between a good team and a great team is their depth. When the starters come out the game, the Chargers struggle tremendously. Seeing as though we’re a little less than two weeks away from the season, what we’re seeing may come as a bit of a concern to some.
However, the Chargers continue their “Fight for LA” on Saturday as they head to the LA Coliseum to take on Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams. Here are a few players on defense to keep a close eye on during Saturday’s game.
Jason Verrett is the best cornerback on this roster and one of the best in the league. When healthy, a case could be made for him being a top-5 CB in the NFL. However, staying healthy has been his biggest problem thus far into his career.
Head Coach Anthony Lynn announces that @Jfeeva_2 will play at least two series vs. the Rams.— Ricky Henne (@ChargersRHenne) August 23, 2017
According to the team, Verrett will see at least two series on Saturday in an effort to ease him back into the lineup. It’ll be interesting to see exactly how much he plays and how he looks returning from the season-ending ACL injury he suffered last year. Regardless, Jason Verrett provides a much-needed boost to a CB unit that’s been pretty underwhelming so far.
Outside of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram the Chargers have no reliable pass-rushers. Through these first two games, Chris McCain has looked like he could potentially fill that void.
Hard to see McCain not making the team at this point pic.twitter.com/qEjaP3GitY— Derrick (@YouATrip) August 21, 2017
McCain is extremely gifted athletically. He’s 6’5, 236 pounds and runs a 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds. He has a broad jump of 10 feet and 11 inches and his three-cone drill at 7.04 seconds was better than all but eight of the running backs who were drafted in 2014.
It’ll be worth watching to see if McCain gets mixed in with the starters at some point on Saturday. He’s definitely been one of the few bright spots along this defensive line this preseason.
Rookie CB Desmond King has been the most impressive Charger on either side of the ball in the first two preseason games. How he lasted until the fifth round in the draft is beyond me.
King has been really good in coverage and has also shown his willingness to come downhill and tackle as you see above. The versatile rookie has also shown flashes in the return game. Look to see if King can keep his string of impressive performances going on Saturday as he looks to lock up that CB3 role.
The signing of Tre Boston was widely thought of to be a clear upgrade over fellow free safety Dwight Lowery. Outside of the sack against the Saints, Boston hasn’t really been anything special.
All Tre Boston does is sack the QB. The greatest safety blitzing safety in the game pic.twitter.com/OAf1CDAVmd— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) August 21, 2017
He hasn’t really made that many notable plays against the pass or the run yet. Though he’ll probably win the starting FS job, look for Boston to do a better job of establishing himself against the Rams on Saturday night.
Nick Dzubnar / Korey Toomer
The defense was dealt a major blow when linebacker Denzel Perryman injured his ankle in the first preseason game against the Seahawks.
The two guys now vying for the starting MLB role are Korey Toomer and Nick Dzubnar. Toomer was signed early on last year and has been a key contributor on defense ever since. Dzubnar — who’s now in his third season — hasn’t done anything of the kind during his entire time with the team.
This is part of the reason why Perryman's injury was so important. 48 can't get off a block. Bad angle by Tre Boston at the end too pic.twitter.com/FskRo5LyI1— Derrick (@YouATrip) August 21, 2017
I’m having a hard time understanding why this is still considered a “battle” to the coaches at this point. But nonetheless, it’ll be interesting to see whether Dzubnar validates the coaches reasoning behind this still being an open competition or if Toomer does enough to lock up the starting role in Perryman’s absence.