The Los Angeles Chargers started their season off with a bang yesterday by gritting out a 30-24 victory at home over the Indianapolis Colts. With many of the big name starters not playing in the preseason, no Melvin Gordon, heavy snaps for Forrest Lamp in the preseason, and some exciting rookies on defense, it was going to be interesting to see how the snap counts shook out in their first regular season game.
On offense the first thing everyone wanted to see was the usage splits between running backs Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson, as the team rolled out their running back by committee approach to take up the load with no Melvin Gordon. Austin Ekeler received 75% of the snaps and Justin Jackson received 25%. This is about what most people were saying it was going to be. The thought is that Justin Jackson might start taking more of the carries as the season goes on, but with Ekeler’s ability to do it all, it’s hard to keep him off the field.
Hunter Henry may have only had 5 targets on the day, but he played 91% of the offensive snaps, which was awesome to see. He definitely made a difference as a blocker on multiple plays.
Coach Anthony Lynn said that Forrest Lamp was going to play, and technically, he didn’t lie. Lamp got 2 snaps, both as an extra lineman in heavy sets. Honestly that was super disappointing to see. Although they won’t be able to keep ignoring him. Between the poor play from the tackles and an overall below average day from Michael Schofield (he had a few nice blocks but it wasn’t great for most of the game), they’re going to have to at least give Lamp a shot.
There are a few things that stand out here. First, Thomas Davis is a great leader, and everyone on the team keeps talking about him being ageless, but he shouldn’t be on the field for 100% of the defensive snaps. More on that in other articles this week.
Another player who got too many snaps was Rayshawn Jenkins. He did not look very good out there. He was basically a bigger Jahleel Addae. He needs to start losing snaps to Nassir Adderley sooner rather than later.
Rookie Jerry Tillery already matching the snap count of Damion Square is encouraging. Yes they don’t play the same position, but the fact that he got a third of the defensive snaps is good to see, especially after he missed most of the offseason.
At Corner, Brandon Facyson got forced into 92% of the snaps when Michael Davis went down to a hamstring injury early (which explains his 5 total snaps). The Chargers better hope Davis’s injury is very temporary and/or Trevor Williams is ready to play this week. Facyson was a liabaility in coverage. The Colts figured that out and whenever they needed a sure catch, they targeted him. They even started running it outside at him and that worked too. He was not ready for the heavy workload and the team suffered because of it.
There are also some interesting names not on this list. I’ve already mentioned Nassir Adderley, the fact that he got 0 defensive snaps is infuriating. Denzel Perryman getting 0 defensive snaps is pretty crazy. He was healthy enough to be active and got in for a play on special teams, so the fact that he didn’t see the field on defense at all is shocking. Drue Tranquill not getting a chance to play any defense is also pretty disappointing. I think as they watch the tape and see what happened, especially on some obvious passing downs/situations, they’re going to have to get him in the game.
Adderley and Tranquill are studs on special teams. Can’t wait until they get in on defense as well. Perryman getting a single rep here is still just weird to me. All 46 active players for the Chargers got at least one snap on the field on Sunday which is pretty cool, especially since it wasn’t forced because of injuries, although they had their fair share of those.