Below are 10 quick-hitting insights ahead of the Chargers' preseason opener against the Rams:
1) This Saturday marks the first-ever preseason game at SoFi Stadium. The Chargers will be the road team against the Rams before hosting the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday, August 22. The Bolts close the preseason on the road against the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, August 28.
2) Saturday will also be the head coaching debut for Brandon Staley against his former team. Staley led the Rams to the league's top-ranked defense in 2020. After Thursday's practice, Staley expressed gratitude for his lone season with the organization: "Without all of those people, I wouldn't be here," he said. "It's going to be a really cool thing to re-connect with them and see what they've been working on. I'm excited to see them, but, really, more than anything, I'm excited for our players to get their first chance to compete."
3) The last time the Chargers played the Rams in preseason was August 26, 2017 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – a 21-19 Bolts win. The Chargers scored all three of their touchdowns in the first quarter including a 45-yard pass from Philip Rivers to Travis Benjamin, and a 76-yard fumble return by defensive end Melvin Ingram after a Joey Bosa strip-sack.
4) Several Chargers starters will not play in the preseason, including quarterback Justin Herbert, safety Derwin James and many others. Herbert had no preseason last year due to the pandemic. He won't have one in 2021 by design.
5) Expect to see all healthy members of this year's Chargers draft class on the field this Saturday. That includes the team's first-round selection Rashawn Slater, who will see game action for the first time in two years. The left tackle opted out of his 2020 season at Northwestern to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.
6) Cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. and wide receiver Joshua Palmer are two other rookies to watch. The high school teammates were selected in this year's draft 30 picks from each other. Last week, Staley said he's taken notice of Samuel Jr.'s development throughout camp: "I think that every time he goes out there, he gets more confident in his game, he gets more confident in our scheme. His intangibles are a big asset for him. You can see those express themselves more with the more experience he gets."
7) Chase Daniel will start at quarterback for the Chargers on Saturday. According to The Football Database, Daniel has played in 26 preseason games with 11 starts. He's gone 349 of 534 for 3,762 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
8) Safety Nasir Adderley is expected to play on Saturday. Adderley made his NFL debut in the preseason on August 29, 2019 in San Francisco and finished with an interception, two tackles and three passes defensed.
9) The Chargers have three kickers in camp: Michael Badgley, Tristan Vizcaino and Alex Kessman. How they are used on Saturday night will be revealed on game day. "We might have a plan, but you have to safely get there," special teams coordinator Derius Swinton II said. "Then, I'll let them know the plan. Then, we'll reveal it and pull it off, and all of you guys will see."
10) After Saturday night, there are 28 days before the Chargers travel to play the Washington Football Team in Week 1.
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