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Chargers Preseason Week 1: The Rookies Shine Bright

Every year there’s a ton of excitement surrounding the Chargers and the talent their team oozes. From their veterans to their young guys, the team is well built on paper. The past few years have been rough due to a combination of injuries and lack of depth. During this past week’s preseason game, things appear to be different as they may have finally found a solid group of rookies that can be relied upon should injuries prevail.


The Rookies on Offense

The rookie that probably turned the most heads this weekend isn’t the TCU WR you’re thinking of. Quentin Johnston played an alright game going for 10 yards on 3 receptions with a TD. However, dropps appeared to be an issue for the former horned frog. He showcased his athleticism, but will need to diminish the drops if he wishes to be a threat to defenses. Instead, his college teammate Derius Davis is the one who stole the show. Davis only went for 21 yards on 2 receptions but consistently showcased his speed; especially on his punt return TD. Going into this week’s game, there was rumor that Jalen Guyton could be a roster casualty given Davis’s speed. After this weekend, this looks even more the case. 

Another rookie who turned heads is UDFA RB Elijah Dotson from Northern Colorado. A thick RB who plays with good agility, burst, and speed, Dotson put this all on display on Saturday running for 92 yards on 6 carries with 2 TDs. Ekeler is obviously a lock for the position with the battle thought of going to be between Spiller and Kelley. But with Rountree being waived, the spot is available for another UDFA RB from a small school in Colorado; a bit of deja vu. 


The Rookies on Defense

On the defensive side, the love was spread all around. Although Scott Matlock wasn’t projected to be drafted in April, the Chargers took a chance on him and it looks to be paying off. He’s been a fan favorite in practice, and his athleticism really showed on Saturday. As for cornerbacks, Tiawan Mullen and AJ Uzodinma, there’s still room for them to improve but their ability to finish tackles didn’t go unnoticed. Against the Rams, Mullen recorded 4 tackles, two of which were assisted, and Uzodinma recorded 3 tackles 3 of which were assisted. It may not seem like a big deal, but it could be given both men are athletic enough to move to safety should the lack of depth at the position present issues. 


The Rest

The rookies may have stolen the show, but it truly was a team effort to pull out the win. At quarterback, Easton Stick played an excellent game, making a case for only having two QBs on the roster. The starter versus the Rams, Stick threw for 109 yards and a TD on 14 for 21 attempts. In the backfield, Kelley and Spiller also played very well. Kelley ran for 54 yards on 9 attempts and Spiller for 27 yards on 5 attempts. Spiller’s stat-line could’ve been 98 yards and a TD on 6 attempts, but a 71 yard TD was called back due a holding penalty. Knock on wood, but could the Chargers finally have a decent RB room?


Play of the Night

Okay it might not have been the best play of the night, but how could you not smile after seeing Basil Okoye record his first NFL sack? From the NFL’s International Player Pathway, Saturday night was Basil Okoye’s first time playing in an organized football game. Okoye’s attended various camps participating in a number of drills but as we all know, game speed is different. A defensive linemen out of Nigeria, he’ll be someone the players, coaching staff, and fanbase are rooting for moving forward. 


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