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5 Chargers to Watch in 2nd Preseason Game vs. Saints


The Bolts second preseason game is on deck.

The Chargers will host the Saints on Sunday at SoFi Stadium. Kickoff is at 4:05 p.m. (PT).

Here are five players to keep an eye on:

1. Quentin Johnston

The Chargers first-round pick saw a little bit of everything in his first NFL game last week.

The highlight was an 8-yard touchdown catch where the wide receiver showed off route running with a savvy move inside the red zone.

But the former TCU standout also had a few hiccups early as he wasn't able to bring in two passes from Easton Stick in the first quarter.

Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley said Friday that Johnston is still only at the beginning of his development in his NFL career.

"He is going to have a role and he is going to be an important part of how we play, but how much he plays is going to be determined by how he performs," Staley said. "He has to continue to earn his way on the practice field. He has shown that he belongs out there and that he is going to be an impact player for us.

"As I mentioned, he has such a great room of guys to learn from, and that is what he has to continue to do — keep learning, keep trusting in Justin [Herbert] and earning his trust, which is so paramount," Staley added.

The Bolts won't ask Johnston to be their No. 1 wide receiver as a rookie. The focus right now is on continued progress as the regular season looms.

2. Daiyan Henley

The Bolts rookie linebacker flashed in his preseason debut with a pass breakup and physical play.

The goal is to now carry that over with another consistent performance against the Saints.

Henley was part of the second linebacker group last weekend as Amen Ogbongbemiga and Nick Niemann got the starts.

But with Niemann not being a full practice participant in recent days, perhaps Henley gets a start of his own and makes the most of this chance.

3. Elijah Dotson

Dotson might be the player who has boosted his stock the most in recent weeks.

He flashed in training camp practices before really turning heads with a 92-yard, two-score performance on just six carries against the Rams.

As a result, Dotson took second-team reps this week in practice and appears to be in line for more work Sunday afternoon.

"A lot of times when you come into a situation like he did, you get a couple of [opportunities] and then you kind of take advantage of those and get a couple more, and a couple more," Chargers Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore said this week. "I think he's just done that awesome, stacking those days.

"Certainly, as opportunities continue to progress for him each and every day when we do give him more, he takes advantage of it in the run game, in the protection," Moore added. "All of the things that we ask running backs to do. It's been really good."

4. JT Woods

Woods got the start against the Rams and had an up-and-down day.

But with Alohi Gilman and Mark Webb, Jr., both missing joint practices, it was Woods who got valuable reps with the Bolts top defense.

He made plays, too, showing off his range with multiple pass breakups in recent days.

Staley said Friday he wants to see continued consistency from Woods in the second preseason game.

"He has had a solid two days out there, and that was part of the reason why these were two important days for him, to see him out there full-time and see the consistency in performance," Staley said. "We're, obviously, going to get a good look at him in this game, too."

5. Dustin Hopkins

Hopkins returned to the practice field this week after dealing with an undisclosed injury earlier in camp.

He had an up-and-down Thursday practice but rebounded to make eight of his nine field goals on Friday.

Staley said Friday that the team will soon determine if both Hopkins and Cameron Dicker will kick Sunday.

"I think that we're going to take a look at the last two days and see where we're at from a health standpoint, certainly with Dustin. Then, make our determination from there," Staley said.

Staley noted Thursday that the battle between Hopkins and Dicker is still ongoing. If Hopkins does kick, it will give him a chance to put live game reps on tape for the first time in roughly 10 months.

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