The Chargers played their first preseason game of 2022 on Saturday night at SoFi Stadium.
Here are five players that stood out against the Rams:
Guard Zion Johnson
Rookie Zion Johnson more than held his own in his first NFL action. Although he only played in the first three drives, the rookie held strong in both the run and pass plays.
"It was a good opportunity to go against other guys than the guys on our team," Johnson said about his preseason action. "We've been practicing against each other for the last few weeks but to get to go against other guys on a different team was good.
"Our guys have given us a good challenge in practice to be ready for this team," Johnson said.
Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley added: "It was good to get him out there. Similar to [T] Rashawn [Slater] last year, just get out there, get in the fire with your teammates, and be able to go operate for a quarter. That was our goal for him tonight. I know that he was glad that he was out there. I think he'll learn a lot from this."
The game did not feel fast for Johnson, as he mentioned that he felt the staff prepared him well. Up next for the rookie guard are joint practices against the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday and Thursday — something that will allow him to get more experience playing against other rushers at the NFL level.
Outside Linebacker Chris Rumph II
Chris Rumph II started the game and flashed almost immediately by causing havoc in the backfield. Finishing the game with four solo tackles, Rumph tallied a sack on third down to force a punt on the Rams first drive. On the following drive, he also got the running back in the backfield for a loss of two yards.
"I thought he flashed tonight," Staley said . "He's one of the guys I highlighted. I thought he played very well tonight, I felt him, we all did. He was active in the run game and in the pass game which is what we really have been on him about in being a complete player."
Rumph's aggressiveness in his limited played time stood out, as he gave the Rams fits. The second-year edge rusher out of Duke has had a positive training camp so far, and his preseason action was a continuation of it.
Wide Receiver Michael Bandy
Michael Bandy led the Chargers in catches and receiving yards Saturday. After a limited role in last year's preseason, the second-year wide receiver from the University of San Diego established himself as a strong target. He finished the game with 73 yards on seven catches, including a second-quarter touchdown thrown by quarterback Chase Daniel.
"[Bandy] has had an outstanding camp," Staley said postgame. "You can see the way his teammates feel about him when good things happen. Our team expects him to play that way because he's earned that on the practice field, and he's had an outstanding camp."
Bandy has quickly become one of his quarterback's favorite target and with more playing time this preseason, Bandy will have more opportunities to replicate his performance.
Wide Receiver Joe Reed
Wide receiver Joe Reed wasted almost no time reintroducing himself after he missed all of 2021 with a foot injury. On the first drive of the game, Reed capped off a nine-play drive with a 41-yard touchdown reception from Daniel to open the scoring. He would finish the game with four catches for 61 yards, including a third-and-5 conversion late in the fourth quarter.
"Having the opportunity to go out there and compete and to play anytime I'm between those lines, I can't take it for granted," Reed said following the game. "Having that moment and having a full game today, it meant a lot for me."
After a long way back from injury, Saturday was special for Reed.
Cornerback Michael Davis
Michael Davis started as an outside cornerback Saturday and made the most of his opportunity. He tallied a tackle on the Rams first drive and also showed up in run support, too. While he did not play a lot in this game, his presence was felt on the outside, also tallying a pass defended. The cornerback room on the Bolts roster is deep, and Davis's performance during Saturday's game showed how deep it is.
"I thought he covered well. I felt like he was connected," Staley said. "He was good in run support off the crack-replace, which we've really encouraged him to improve.
"He moved around a little bit for us tonight. It was good to get him out there," Staley added.
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