Spero Dedes is once again spending the preseason as the Chargers’ play-by-play announcer for television broadcasts. With two games down and two remaining, now’s as good a time as any to check in with Dedes to find out who is catching his eye thus far.
I like everything about this kid: he's tough, he’s physical and as it turns out: opportunistic. Due to minor injuries to other candidates for the number three running back job, Newsome has put himself in a real position to not only steal that roster spot, but potentially be a guy who gets a few touches a game. Austin Ekeler, another “small school” product, stole the preseason last year. While Newsome hasn’t had quite that level of impact, he’s slowly proving he belongs. If he can show Anthony Lynn enough on special teams these next two weeks, I think there’s a good chance he makes the 53.
This is an easy one, but considering how disappointing last season was for Williams, his start this preseason - albeit in meaningless exhibition games - has been very encouraging. His body looks incredible, and I think people still don’t realize just how big and thick this kid is. His ability and willingness to mix it up over the middle and make the tough catches will be massively important to Philip Rivers and this offense, especially in the absence of Hunter Henry. If Williams has the season everyone in the building thinks (and hopes) he will, and he can help mitigate the loss of Henry in the red zone, then there’s no telling how good this offense can be.
When it comes to the final few WR spots on the 53-man roster it seems like all the talk during camp has centered around guys like Artavis Scott and Geremy Davis - and rightfully so. But Jones’ performance as a kick returner against Seattle last weekend turned some heads. That type of return ability is a level of versatility that most coaches salivate over, and now Jones is on Lynn’s radar. If he can make a few more plays in the return game and prove he’s got reliable hands, then he’s got a shot.
Everyone you talk to about Davis raves about how far he’s come and the potential he has. Even with how deep the Chargers are in the secondary, Jason Verrett’s injury has left the door open for one of these younger DBs to step into a critical role within this defense. One thing I’ve noticed about Davis: the kid has developed short-term memory, which is a must at that position. Yes, he’s gotten beat on a few occasions this preseason but every single time he’s bounced back and competed. I like that. That’s the kind of DB Gus Bradley wants in his system. Clearly, he’s more comfortable in this defense than he was at this time last year. Now he’s got to take the next step.