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NFL Preseason Week 2: L.A. Chargers vs. San Francisco 49ers Preview

Week 2 of the NFL preseason is upon us! The Los Angeles Chargers are facing off against another in-state opponent, the San Francisco 49ers. The Chargers won their first preseason matchup against hometown rivals, the Los Angeles Rams, 13-6. Meanwhile, the 49ers lost their first preseason matchup against the powerhouse Kansas City Chiefs 19-16. Both teams played against their opponents’ bitter rivals, but only the Chargers came out on top.

Unlike last week for the Chargers, there aren’t really any enticing storylines to keep watch for against the 49ers. At least, not at the level of “McVay vs. Staley”. However, both teams have some interesting rookies to watch for, which will be discussed later in this article. With that said, here is the preseason Chargers-49ers preseason week 2 preview.

The Rookies

Both teams, the 49ers especially, have some interesting rookies to keep an eye on in this game. With the first preseason games behind us, it’s worth taking a look at how each of these players to watch performed in their first NFL games. With that in mind, realistic expectations can be set for each of these players and more accurately predict which rookies could have an impact. Here are a couple rookies on each team to watch for.

Chargers

  • Josh Palmer (WR) –
    Rashawn Slater proved his worth in Week 1 against the Rams, but can he do it again against the 49ers? (via Jae C. Hong/ Associated Press)

    Palmer had a solid first game last week against the Rams, racking up 6 reception for 36 yards. While the statline isn’t particularly dazzling by most standards, it must be taken into consideration that his quarterbacks for the game were Chase Daniel and Easton Stick. While it’s true neither quarterback played bad, it’s also true that neither of them are Justin Herbert. It will be interesting to see how Palmer fares after a full preseason game under his belt.

  • Rashawn Slater (LT) – Slater proved in his first preseason game that he was worth the first round pick. He was absolutely bullying the Rams defensive line. He also proved what scouts were saying about his run blocking game: that he is fluid and has a killer anchor plant. Slater was a stalwart for the Chargers offensive line last Saturday, and there is no reason to believe he can’t replicate that against the 49ers.

49ers

  • Trey Lance (QB) – Lance is one of the most high-profile picks of this year’s draft class, and not for a
    Trey Lance had a rocky performance in Week 1, but showed flashes of brilliance. Can he start taking the steps to improvement? (via Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

    completely positive reason. Lance was drafted by the 49ers at 3rd overall, yet was the third quarterback off the board. In a draft class packed with talented quarterbacks, Lance’s career will be one of many to keep an eye on. In his first preseason game, Lance was handed the reins and sent out to play. Lance played mediocre, only completing 5 of 14 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. However, he played like how he was expected to be: as a developmental prospect. Though his numbers are by no means impressive, Lance showed flashes here and there, particularly on his 80-yard touchdown to Trent Sherfield and his 34-yard completion to Charlie Woerhner. He’s not ready to take over for Garoppolo, but  he showed glimpses of his potential to be a franchise quarterback.

  • Talanoa Hufanga (S) – Hufanga could possibly be the steal of the draft for the 49ers. The safety from USC showed out against the talented Chiefs offense, racking up 4 tackles. Hufanga prepared for the NFL Draft with Hall of Fame safety Troy Polamalu, and there is a clear similarity in their playstyles. Hufanga plays with a lot of energy and passion, which are both fantastic qualities to have. While it’d be premature to say Hufanga could be the next Polamalu, he’ll bring that Polamalu energy to the team. And all for a 5th-round pick!

Summary

Like last week, this is a preseason game. What matters isn’t how the game finishes, rather how their prospects play. The 49ers would much rather hope Lance improves on his game over getting a win. Likewise, the Chargers would much rather hope cornerback Asante Samuel continues to improve and become a keystone for their secondary. Most important of all, both teams will want to avoid injuries at all costs, especially to their most prized prospects. It would be devastating if the Chargers lost someone like Rashawn Slater for the season to a horrific injury. With that said, let’s hope that both teams stay healthy and continue to get used to the speed of the NFL. This was the Chargers-49ers preseason week 2 preview.

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