Los Angeles Chargers training camp preview – Los Angeles Chargers Blog

COSTA MESA, Calif. — The Los Angeles Chargers open 2022 NFL Training Camp Wednesday at Jack Hammett Sports Complex. Here is an overview of some scenarios.

The player with the most to prove is… quarterback Justin Herbert: It’s somewhat difficult to state given that Herbert’s talent and production over two seasons has placed him among the NFL’s elite. As a sophomore pro in 2021, Herbert’s 65.6 total QBR ranked third in the league behind only Aaron Rodgers (69.1) and Tom Brady (68.1). He passed for an impressive 5,014 yards (ranked second behind Brady) and 38 touchdown passes (third behind Brady’s 43 and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Matthew Stafford’s 41).

But this season, with a roster stacked on both sides of football, the No. 6 overall pick in 2020 must prove his superior stats can translate to wins and the franchise’s first playoff appearance since the 2018 season. .

The most impactful addition of the offseason … is impossible to sum up with one name, so let’s pick two: outside linebacker Khalil Mack and cornerback JC Jackson. The Chargers made headlines in March when they acquired Mack from the Chicago Bears, then signed cornerback Jackson to a five-year, $82.5 million deal, with $40 million guaranteed a few days later.

A three-time All-Pro with 76.5 sacks in eight seasons that was acquired in exchange for a second-round pick and a sixth-round pick in 2023, Mack will line up opposite Pro Bowl rusher Joey Bosa , who has 58 sacks in six seasons, to create one of the league’s most feared passing duos. And Jackson provides some serious ball-peddling skills, as his 25 interceptions since the New England Patriots signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2018 are the most in the NFL. With Jackson’s presence, the Bolts should improve from their 21 takeout (ranked 17th) in 2021 and get the ball back into Herbert’s hands more often.

Training camp will be a success if…the Chargers sign All-Pro safety Derwin James Jr. to a contract extension: The Chargers have several of the NFL’s top defensive playmakers firmly under contract, including Bosa, Mack and Jackson. Next, James.

The 17th overall pick in 2018, James is entering the fifth and final season of his rookie contract and is expected to earn $9 million in 2022. A key presence in coach Brandon Staley’s defense given his versatility, playing skills and his leadership, the Chargers must secure the future of All-Pro safety before the start of the season.

Despite only playing five games in 2019 due to a foot injury and being out the entire 2020 season due to a knee injury, James has established himself as one of the top safeties in the league with five career interceptions, 19 pass deflections, three forced fumbles and 5.5 sacks. His continued efforts will be crucial to improving a Chargers defense that gave up 27.0 points per game in 2021, which ranked 29th in the league.

As NFL training camps roll into action, NFL Nation takes a look at key storylines and comes up with a prediction for each team.
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The fiercest battle in fantasy… Who will support Austin Ekeler? Ekeler is the Bolts’ go-to running back after scoring 20 touchdowns and gaining 1,558 all-purpose yards in 2021. But who will be next in line for runs behind him?

The Chargers used a fourth-round pick to select Texas A&M’s Isaiah Spiller, who Staley described as a full-back with the ability not only as a rusher but also as a wide receiver. Spiller’s addition sets up competition with third-year pro Joshua Kelley, a former fourth-round pick who has yet to establish himself as a strong No. 2 option after rushing for 102 yards on 33 carries the last season. Second-year pro Larry Rountree III, who rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown on 36 carries in 2021, will also compete for touches.

Camp Forecast: Spiller will prove himself as a potential weapon on offense, earning more than just a backup behind Ekeler. Rookie running backs can often be slow to enjoy themselves in a pro-level offense due to pass protection. However, that might not be the case for Spiller. “He’s a great pass guard,” Staley said, referring to his time at Texas A&M. “Mentally, he was responsible for a lot there. He was a three-try full-back.” Pass protection, along with Spiller’s instincts as a runner and his hands as a wide receiver, will buy him some game time early on.