Below are 10 quick-hitting insights ahead of the Chargers' season opener at the Washington Football Team:
1) Brandon Staley will make his regular-season debut as head coach on Sunday in Washington. As defensive coordinator of the Rams in 2020, Staley went 4-0 against the NFC East. His defense allowed an average of 13.75 points per game against those four opponents. The Rams beat Washington 30-10 in Week 5 last season.
2) Sunday will also feature the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year in quarterback Justin Herbert against the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year in defensive end Chase Young. This will be Herbert's first NFL start in a season opener. He finished 2020 with 4,336 passing yards, 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
3) One of the reasons rookie offensive tackle Rashawn Slater shot to the top of draft boards this year was his performance against Young when Northwestern hosted Ohio State on October 18, 2019. Slater's first regular-season game since that season will come against Young and the talented WFT defensive line. Slater played 20 snaps in preseason, all on the opening drive in the opener against the Rams.
4) Since 2016, Ohio State has produced three pass rushers drafted top three overall: Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa and Young. All three won Defensive Rookie of the Year. Two will share the field in Washington on Sunday.
4) Exactly 20 years ago on Thursday, the Chargers beat Washington 30-3 in the season opener. A rookie running back named LaDainian Tomlinson carried the ball 36 times for 113 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his NFL debut.
5) Washington quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has beaten every team in the NFL with the exception of five. The Chargers are one of those clubs. His lone attempt against the Bolts came on Dec. 11, 2011 with the Buffalo Bills – a 37-10 Chargers win.
6) The last meeting between these two teams came on Dec. 10, 2017. Los Angeles won 30-13 behind 319 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns from quarterback Philip Rivers. It was the Chargers' fourth straight win as they rallied to a 9-7 season after an 0-4 start.
8) Two rookies who could have an impact on Sunday: cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. and wide receiver Dyami Brown. Samuel Jr., the Chargers' second-round selection out of Florida State, will make his first career start on Sunday. The former UNC standout Brown, drafted in the third round by Washington, may see an elevated role with head coach Ron Rivera announcing Friday that they will place wide receiver Curtis Samuel on injured reserve. Samuel Jr. and Brown played against each other in the ACC last season.
9) Sunday marks the first season opener that Bosa and safety Derwin James will start in together. It will also be the first game that James will play in with safety Nasir Adderley and cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. and Samuel Jr.
10) Washington head coach Ron Rivera spent three seasons as the Chargers defensive coordinator from 2009-12. Offensive coordinator Scott Turner is the son of Norv Turner, who was the Chargers head coach from 2007-12. Defensive backs coach Chris Harris spent four seasons with the Bolts from 2009-12.
Check out the best photos from Bolts practice on Thursday at Hoag Performance Center.
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