Below are three takeaways from podium sessions after the Chargers preseason opener:
Staley evaluates young running backs, backup quarterbacks
After spending nearly two weeks practicing against each other at training camp, the Chargers faced their first opponent of the 2022 preseason Saturday night.
Although the Bolts fell to the Los Angeles Rams in their exhibition opener, there were still plenty of positive takeaways from their first preseason contest.
Staley gave his evaluation on two positions that are both under the spotlight at training camp: the backup running back and backup quarterback positions.
The preseason opener was a chance for Joshua Kelley, Larry Rountree III and Isaiah Spiller to showcase their abilities at full game speed.
After the game, Staley gave his evaluation of what he saw from the young running back core.
"I thought that they all got some good work. I felt like they caught the ball well. I felt like they were a factor in the passing game," Staley said. "I thought that Isaiah had a couple of good runs in traffic, where it was crowded. He moved the pile.
"It was good to play all of them and it was good to play all of them on special teams," Staley added.
Saturday's action also featured quarterbacks Chase Daniel and Easton Stick, who each played half the game. Staley talked about the 'healthy competition' at the backup quarterback spot and what he saw from that duo.
"I think both of our quarterbacks played well tonight, I thought they both moved the team, took care of the football, make good decisions," Staley said. "That's the way they've been throughout camp. I think both of them have improved, and that's what we've been looking for.
"The next game, Easton is going to start the first half and Chase will take the second half," Staley added. "Those guys are in competition, but it's really healthy competition for our football team. We like our quarterback room a lot. I liked the way both of them played."
Daniel talks opening-drive touchdown
With Justin Herbert on the sidelines Saturday night, Daniel started the first half for the Bolts. He finished the night with 117 yards passing and two touchdowns.
"I thought we put up a good showing," Daniel said of the offense's performance. "It was good to get the first drive touchdown. We sort of stalled on the two drives, mainly some misthrows by me.
"We were able to get the two-minute drive out the gate. I thought everyone played really well," Daniel added. "It's the first time playing against someone other than yourself, so that's always good. You're getting to see another color and hit it, but for the most part, it looked sharp. Could fix some things, though, for sure."
The veteran QB got the Bolts off to a hot start with an opening-drive touchdown pass. Daniel fired a deep pass down the field and connected with wide receiver Joe Reed for a 41-yard touchdown. Daniel explained how the play went down.
"It was a great play call," he said. "We were saving that call for the left hash and I told [Offensive Coordinator] Joe [Lombardi], 'If you call it on the right hash, I'm going to be really mad,' because we really wanted to get the 2-on-1 on the corner.
"Protection, first of all, was like — I think I hitched four times, which is great," Daniel said. "So, I could see it all and then Joe just used his speed and ran right by him. The corner sat down on [WR Michael] Bandy, which is what we wanted. It's very rare that those plays work exactly how you see it. It was open. I'm just glad I got it there."
Reed's big moment under the lights
After scoring his first touchdown in the NFL back in 2020, wide receiver Joe Reed has been battle-tested over the past year. Reed, who missed the 2021 season with a foot injury, has made plenty of plays throughout training camp. The hard work paid off as he scored his first receiving touchdown in the NFL on Saturday night.
After the game Reed talked about his journey in the NFL and what the touchdown catch meant to him.
"That's part of the journey," Reed said. "This is a hard business, a hard League, and every day you have to show up and work.
"So, going from a coaching change my rookie year to being on practice squad IR — just having the opportunity to go out there and compete and to play, any time I'm between those lines, I can't take it for granted. Having that moment and having a full game today meant a lot to me," Reed added.
Staley not only took notice of Reed's touchdown, but also the plays he made all over the field. Staley explained why Reed has stood out as he makes his comeback from an injury that kept him off the field last season.
"Joe had some really big catches tonight," Staley said. "He had some possession catches, he had the deep catch, and then he was on the kickoff returner. We're really going to try and take a long look at him on special teams and see if he can carve a role for himself on offense. He's improved a lot as a player."
"He works extremely hard. Coming off the injury last year, I think he's had just a great mindset in terms of coming back and really being the best version of himself. He's had a quality camp so far. I'm certainly proud of the way he played tonight," Staley added.
Take a look at some of the best photos of the Bolt Fam reuniting at SoFi Stadium for the first preseason game of 2022
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