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DJ's Mailbag: The Surprise Chargers Breakout Player of 2021


Each week during the season, Chargers radio analyst Daniel Jeremiah will answer fan questions from Instagram.

Below is the Week 1 installment:

Which Charger is going under the radar who will make an impact this year on offense and defense? -@rkwill_

"I'll say under the radar on offense, I'll go with Josh Palmer. I think that trying to find that third target in the passing game from that receiving core, it's wide open and I think he's got a chance to emerge as that guy. And I think not only some of that vertical stuff we saw in college, I was impressed with what he did after the catch in the preseason. Maybe under the radar on defense, I'm still buying Nasir Adderley. I'm a believer in his athleticism and play making skills and I think this defense is going to highlight that."

Who is a surprise breakout player we fans are not talking about enough? -@orlandoa7

"Kenneth Murray. Even though he's a first round pick last year, I think obviously with Justin [Herbert] being the other first round pick he gets lost a little bit in that conversation. I think this defense is going to cut him loose and you're gonna see him more as a rusher, being able to blitz him a little bit more to go along with his athleticism and range in coverage. I think you're gonna see some splash plays from him this year."

What Chargers rookie has impressed you the most? -@thegingerkid63

"I might go off the radar and go with Jaimes, [G/T] Brenden Jaimes has been somebody in terms of what the expectation was and what he's been. He looked like a NFL starting guard to me in the preseason. So to get him where Tom Telesco was able to get him and then to see him develop, he's somebody that's going to give a lot of depth here to this offensive line."

"Another kind of off the radar that's not going to start, but [LB Nick] Niemann what he did on defense in the preseason. Gosh, he might've led the NFL in tackles, so he was all over the field in the preseason. So those two guys in terms of where they were picked and what they produced would be the two that jumped out to me."

Does Brandon Staley's emphasis on relationships really help boost morale and/or performance? -@carlostrooheeo

"It doesn't hurt, I can promise you that. This is a relationship league, and these are players that you know we talk about wanting to know the 'why' behind what they're doing and coach Staley does a wonderful job of explaining that. When you have good relationships with players and understand how they learn best, you can teach best. So, I think that it's all very positive with his interpersonal relationship skills.

Outside of Rashawn Slater, what matchups are you looking forward to in Week 1? -@governorofwisconsin

"I want to see [WR Terry] McLaurin get out there and see what he does against guys like [CB] Chris Harris if he were to matchup with him, [CB] Asante Samuel Jr. get a chance to see those guys matchup. I think that's gonna be a fun one."

How's the special teams unit as a whole looking compared to last year? -@sykesss

"I think it's much faster. I think you look at the linebacker room, specifically, is so deep and so athletic I think that's gonna be kind of the guys that are core special teamers this year, so it should be a really fast group. I think when you look at the kickoff situation, you've got a kicker now who bangs everything out of the end zone so that makes life pretty easy on your coverage unit."

How do you see Slater's rematch versus Chase Young going? -@brandolorian

"Look, I think it's going to be a great battle. I think that Rashawn has got everything you need to be successful in that matchup. He's got great feet, he's strong, he can anchor, he can redirect. But this is an elite, elite player and it's not fair that an offensive lineman can win 45 out of 47 reps and then you'll see those two highlight plays and everybody will say that it was dominated by the other guy. So, it's not a fair fight in terms of how it will be judged I'll put it that way, but I think Slater will hold his own."

What are you most excited about for the season? -@jp.vandam

"I'm excited to see what 17 games looks like. I mean I feel like that was a nice Christmas present for any football fan, you get an extra meaningful game for every team. So, I'm excited to get all the way down to the end to have our first 17th game, see what that looks like."

How big of an impact will Asante Samuel Jr. have on this defense? -@b1ak3.r

"Well, this defense needs takeaways and turnovers and that's something that he can bring and provide. You know I think you put him behind the pass rush led by Joey Bosa that he'll get some opportunities to make plays on the ball and that's something that he's really, really good at."

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