The Chargers dug deep into their depth chart in their preseason matchup against the Rams, with a total of 61 players taking snaps in the victory. Each level of depth held up well against the Rams, as the Chargers controlled the game from kickoff until the final whistle.
To get an idea of who is getting chances to catch Coach Staley’s eye, here are the snap count breakdowns for offense, defense, and special teams.
Austen Pleasants and Foster Sarell led the offensive snap counts, playing nearly the entire game with 53 snaps to their name. Neither did much to stand out, which is a major concern considering Foster Sarell is currently slotted as the team’s swing tacke. His 53.4 PFF score against the Rams depth pieces, including 2 hurries and a sack, won’t build confidence in a fanbase that is all too familiar with injuries.
While Elijah Dotson played at an elite level, scoring a 90.0 PFF score, he was only on the field for a total of seven snaps. Isaiah Spiller commanded 23 snaps for a score of 86.8. He had a relatively mistake-free outing, rushing for 5.4 yards per carry, 2.4 yards after contact, and made two clean receptions on two targets for 11 yards. Spiller actually had a fairly productive outing against the Rams last preseason as well - his gained 2.4 yards after contact last year, but only gained 3.4 yards per carry. This suggests that Kellen Moore’s offensive scheme is creating a little more wiggle room for the backs, something that was sorely needed last year.
Also to note - 14 snaps will be up for grabs next week, as Larry Rountree was officially waived this morning. Expect Dotson to see more volume in the weeks to follow as he fights to force the Chargers to carry four running backs.
Let’s dive into the defensive numbers.
Former Ohio State CB and UDFA Cam Brown saw plenty of action, staying on the field for 88% of the defensive snaps and logging an 10 snaps on special teams. While he didn’t make splashy plays or pop on any highlight reels, he’s worth taking a second look at as he only allowed three receptions on six targets for a total of 19 yards, and broke up two of those plays himself. He also added three tackles, including one stop, to his numbers for the day.
An interesting footnote here is both Amen Ogbongbemiga and Nick Niemann, both third-year players who have been special teams staples for the Chargers, capitalized on their chance to make a case for more defensive opportunities. Amen saw 30 defensive snaps and Neimann only saw 11, but Neimann’s 85.9 PFF score and Amen’s 84.4 led the linebacker room. Neither missed a tackle on the day, with both posting two stops and Amen hitting the quarterback on two separate occasions. Perhaps most importantly, neither allowed a reception in coverage.
On special teams, the team gave Blake Lynch an extension look with 13 snaps. If Ogbongbemiga and Neimann keep producing as they are, it will won’t be easy to find a spot for Lynch on the final roster, but he did make some noise by sacking the quarterback. Raheem Layne and AJ Finley also saw extensive work with 13 and 14 special teams snaps, hoping to fight their way onto the roster despite the relatively crowded defensive back room.