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Five Players Who Stood Out in the Chargers' Preseason Opener


The Chargers beat the Rams 13-6 in the first preseason game in SoFi Stadium history.

There were certainly more noteworthy performances on Saturday night, but below are five that head coach Brandon Staley discussed at the podium after the game:

Rashawn Slater

Making his NFL debut and seeing his first game action in two seasons, offensive tackle Rashawn Slater was on the field for the Bolts' 21-play opening drive.

Dan Fouts pointed out Slater's footwork and power during the broadcast. Staley said the rookie got at least double the amount of snaps he was slated for.

"We just felt like, 'Hey that was a really positive drive,'" Staley said. "[We] got to see a lot of him. He was able to get that wind that we were kind of hoping to gain today. I'm glad that he wanted to go back out there because that means he's in good shape."

During the game, Slater told LaDainian Tomlinson that the first drive of the game mimicked the tempo at which the team practices.

"It went well," Slater said. "Being able to come out here and be in front of everybody — I know that we're not the home team, but I feel like being here in the stadium and being around the guys for the first time in a game setting, was amazing."

Kyzir White

Throughout training camp, linebacker Kyzir White has flashed. Defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill said that he calls White "the bully" for how imposing he is on the football field.

White lived up to the name Saturday night. On a third-and-12 in the first quarter, the fourth-year veteran stuffed running back Jake Funk for a loss of five, forcing a punt.

White finished the game with four total tackles and that TFL. He played alongside Drue Tranquill, who saw his first game action since Week 1 of the 2020 season.

"I felt like those guys did a really good job in the first quarter directing traffic for our team, playing with good energy," Staley said, "and I felt like it was good for them to get out there as a combination."

Joshua Palmer

Rookie wide receiver Joshua Palmer has looked the part over the last two weeks at Jack Hammett Sports Complex. He wasted no time making his mark in his first NFL game.

Palmer caught four passes on the opening drive and finished the game with a team-high six catches for 36 yards.

"I had a lot of fun," Palmer said. "The beauty about the game is you don't know what's going to happen. So, when the balls just kept coming, I just kept trying to make the most of it and make my plays.

"I give a lot of credit to the coaches for helping me get to this point and a lot of the veterans for helping me get to this point. I'm always talking to them constantly, day in and day out, especially during training camp. Today was OK. It could have been better, but I definitely felt free out there."

John Brannon

Last Thursday, Staley said this about second-year cornerback John Brannon: "He's really made some big jumps the last week in particular. I think that the installs slowed down for him. Now, he has a great understanding of how we want to play."

Fast forward to the fourth quarter of Saturday night's game. On fourth-and-goal from the Chargers' five-yard line, Brannon intercepted Rams quarterback Devlin Hodges. What could have been the game-tying score was erased by No. 38.

"He was able to get reconnected and cut the route off there and just be there in time to save us," Staley said. "[I'm] really excited for him because he's been working so hard. He's got so far to go, but his heart and spirit is right and we're going to keep coaching him."

Larry Rountree III

It was a big night for the Chargers' big backs in the second half. Darius Bradwell had three carries for 18 yards, including a one-yard touchdown rush in the third quarter that put the Bolts up for good.

It was rookie Larry Rountree III, though, who ripped off 25- and 24-yard rushes, respectively, en route to 63 yards on eight carries (7.9 yards per carry). Rountree left Missouri as the all-time leading rusher among running backs.

"To see us be able to run the ball with physicality at the end was exciting for us," Staley said. "I thought that Larry and Darius did a nice job of closing the game out."

Staley noted he was equally pleased with where his backs are on special teams.

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