In all honesty, last night’s game does not hold a lot of weight to it.
The Chargers backups played against a number of the 49ers’ starters and played them pretty well. Rookie Trey Lance didn’t see success until the Bolts put in their late-round rookies and undrafted free agents while Lance was still throwing to veteran players.
All in all, I’d say the Bolts looked better against the better competition they were facing while the Niners played down to or below the level of the Bolts’ backups.
With that being said, here’s three takeaways from Sunday night’s 15-10 preseason loss to San Francisco.
Easton Stick makes a strong case for the backup quarterback job
In a surprise move by the coaching staff, presumed third-string quarterback Easton Stick got the nod to start Sunday’s preseason game against the 49ers ahead of veteran Chase Daniel. Stick played well behind two-fifths of the starting offensive while throwing to only backup pass-catchers.
He finished the night with 10 completions on 14 attempts for 85 yards and a lone touchdown to rookie Joshua Palmer. The entire ground game was almost nonexistent which also led to Stick topping the team with 15 yards on the ground off three different scrambles.
He showed notable control of the offense and may have actually created a quarterback controversy for the backup spot behind Daniel. While the veteran has the valuable experience, Stick is much closer to Herbert physically and he’d allow the offense to continue on a similar path should — God forbid — Herbert ever get injured.
Trey Pipkins may not be worth the roster spot any longer
With Rashawn Slater getting the night off and Bryan Bulaga not seeing time this preseason, Trey Pipkins started at right tackle with Storm Norton getting the nod on the left side.
Pipkins was actually doing fine....until the actual game started.
The 2019 third-round pick struggled from the jump, allowing pressure into the backfield nonstop. By the end of the game, Pipkins had allowed multiple sacks and even let up a safety to give the 49ers their first points of the game.
After the exhibition, Brandon Staley delivered what may be one of my favorite quotes his short tenure at the helm of the Chargers.
When asked about the performance of his backup tackles, Staley was pretty straight-forward:
“I think those two guys got a really accurate picture of where they’re at.”
Yes. Finally. A coach that isn’t going to skirt around the hard topics or shuns away from reality. The offensive tackles were simply bad against the Niners and without specifically saying those words, Staley still expressed those sentiments.
Regarding the struggles of OTs Trey Pipkins and Storm Norton today vs. 49ers, #Chargers coach Brandon Staley said, "I think those two guys got a really accurate picture of where they’re at.”— Jeff Miller (@JeffMillerLAT) August 23, 2021
After final cuts, I fully expect the Chargers to nab a tackle from another team’s scraps.
Kyler Fackrell will push to start opposite Joey Bosa
Through the Chargers’ first two preseason games, free-agent signing Kyler Fackrell has put together one of the better performances among those getting the chance to play in August. Against the 49ers, Fackrell recorded one of the team’s two sacks and notched three of the Bolts’ four quarterback hits on the night. He was a terror against the 49ers’ backup tackles with his non-stop motor and length. He played so well that fans didn’t even bother waiting until after the game to suggest Nwosu wasn’t the shoe-in for the starting pass rusher spot opposite Bosa.
After all, the former third-round pick of the Packers does have a double-digit sack season to his name and that wasn’t even as a full-time starter for Green Bay.
I am going to tread into dangerous water here. If Kyler Fackrell is a useful rotational pass rusher, not only would it not be the first time that it took until year 3 for that to happen at that position but it would also mean he's not a bust. That's a legit pass rush move. pic.twitter.com/uOEmMBCSwd— Ross Uglem (@RossUglem) November 12, 2018