The Chargers continue their preseason schedule Saturday night against the Cowboys at SoFi Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. (PT).
The teams held joint practices Wednesday and Thursday in Costa Mesa, which provided a great chance for the starters to get quality work in.
We chatted withDavid Helman, who covers the Cowboys for FOX Sports, to get a preview of the Bolts second preseason game.
What was your No. 1 takeaway from the joint practices?
DH: Purely from a Cowboys perspective, I was mainly impressed with the way the Dallas defense managed to limit Justin Herbert and the Chargers' passing game. Obviously, you're never going to completely shut down an opposing offense in a practice setting, but the explosive plays that Herbert, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have become known for were lacking these past two days. I thought it was a strong two days of work for the Cowboys' secondary.
It's always fun to see a different team up close. Did anyone on the Chargers stand out to you?
DH: I personally think Herbert is one of the 2-3 most entertaining players in the entire league, so it was a lot of fun to get a close look at that arm strength and mobility. It's also obvious from watching him this week that Khalil Mack has plenty of gas in the tank.
What's the overall vibe surrounding the Cowboys heading into the 2022 season? Are they poised to make a playoff run?
DH: The Cowboys find themselves in a strange place. Typically a 12-5 season is viewed as a runaway success, but last year's early playoff loss left a bad taste in everyone's mouth, and there's a feeling of impatience in the air. On top of that, the Cowboys are asking a lot of young players to step up for departed vets like Amari Cooper, Cedrick Wilson and La'el Collins. The expectation is a division title and another shot at the playoffs, but it's hard to feel right now like this year's roster is as talented as last year's.
Check out the best photos from the Bolts hosting the Dallas Cowboys on the sixteenth day of Training Camp 2022 at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa!
Which Cowboys player will you have your eye on Saturday night?
DH: I'm not expecting to see much from the Cowboys' starters, so I'll say DaRon Bland. The rookie corner has had a phenomenal camp, highlighted by a strong outing in the preseason opener in Denver. Starting nickel back Jourdan Lewis has a hamstring injury right now, so this is a huge opportunity for the fifth-round pick to make a name for himself.
Finally, I'm curious to get your thoughts on Herbert. You know the NFL's quarterback landscape well, but where do you think he fits in?
DH: I already said he's one of my favorite players to watch in the NFL, so clearly I'm a fan. He's one of the most purely talented quarterbacks in the league. I do think it's interesting, though, that Herbert is still young enough that he doesn't catch as much criticism for his team's shortcomings. This feels like the year that changes, as the Chargers are clearly one of the most talented teams in the league. By the time this season is over, I think Herbert is either going to be universally regarded as one of the 2-3 best quarterbacks in football -- or he's going to be facing a lot of questions about why his results don't match his talent level.
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