NFL preseason: Takeaways from the Chargers’ loss to Cowboys

Not even two minutes into the sport Saturday night time, Easton Stick had thrown an interception.

However Stick recovered shortly and impressively, finishing eight of his subsequent 10 makes an attempt and main the Chargers to a area objective and landing on their subsequent two possessions.

Vying with Chase Daniel for the job backing up Justin Herbert, Stick was one of many early highlights within the Chargers’ 32-18 preseason loss to the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi Stadium.

The early lowlights for the house group included two particular groups touchdowns surrendered. The Cowboys’ KaVontae Turpin returned a first-quarter kickoff 98 yards and a second-quarter punt 86 yards for scores.

Particular groups has been a difficulty the previous few seasons, significantly for the Chargers, who once more held out most of their starters.

SoFi Stadium had a notable glitch because the scoreboards weren’t functioning initially of the sport. The large overhead video board remained darkish all through the primary half.

KaVontae Turpin (2) celebrates along with his Dallas Cowboys teammates after returning a punt 86 yards for a landing towards the Chargers.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Occasions)

One other early spotlight for the Chargers was the trouble of Joshua Palmer, the group’s No. 3 large receiver. Getting into his second season, Palmer made a pleasant catch over cornerback Nahshon Wright for a 41-yard acquire after which scored on an 18-yard display screen.

The landing got here on the Chargers’ third sequence, a 12-play march throughout which Stick hit Jalen Guyton to transform one third down and Jason Moore Jr. to transform one other.

Then, on third and 13, Stick saved the drive going by scrambling for 25 yards.

Stick’s night time soured a bit late within the first half when he fumbled on a sack, resulting in a Dallas landing because the Cowboys opened a 29-10 lead after two quarters.

Within the Chargers’ proper deal with competitors, Storm Norton began and performed the primary two sequence earlier than being changed by Trey Pipkins III.

Getting into Saturday, the Chargers had not publicly decided on the place.

“We’re going to continue to evaluate it until we feel like we’re ready,” coach Brandon Staley mentioned Thursday. “But I will tell you that both of them are improved football players, and I’m really proud of the way they’ve improved.”

Norton has began 18 of the 24 NFL video games during which he has appeared. Fifteen of these begins got here at proper deal with final season. Pipkins has 10 begins in 38 appearances over his first three seasons.

Chargers quarterback Easton Stick hands off to running back Larry Rountree III against the Cowboys.

Chargers quarterback Easton Stick palms off to working again Larry Rountree III towards the Cowboys.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Occasions)

The Chargers coaches have constantly expressed confidence in each gamers and the concept the offense will probably be improved at proper deal with both approach.

“I think we’re going to end up being a lot better there, regardless of who wins that position,” offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi mentioned early in camp. “I think that we’re going to feel real good about the depth, as well.”

The Chargers’ beginning offensive entrance, together with Norton and Pipkins rotating at proper deal with, struggled early in joint practices with Dallas on Wednesday and Thursday earlier than displaying enchancment.

Norton was a a lot better run blocker than cross blocker final 12 months, in response to Professional Soccer Focus. Primarily based on PFF’s analysis, just one NFL deal with gave up extra sacks and pressures final season than Norton did.

Pipkins was a third-round draft decide in 2019, taken as a longer-term mission out of Sioux Falls. He has proven potential however has lacked steadiness to his sport, one thing Lombardi mentioned is bettering.

“I haven’t seen some of the dips maybe that we saw last year in his performance,” Lombardi mentioned. “Just a lot of consistency. He’s a talented guy and he’s been playing more like you’d expect from him so far in camp.”

The Chargers additionally try to establish a second working again to enrich Austin Ekeler.

Joshua Kelley began Saturday, with Larry Rountree III coming in for the second sequence and Isaiah Spiller making his first offensive look on the opening play of the second quarter.

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Mike Tafua sacks Chargers quarterback Chase Daniel in the fourth quarter.

Dallas Cowboys defensive finish Mike Tafua sacks Chargers quarterback Chase Daniel within the fourth quarter.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Occasions)

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Kelvin Joseph tackles Chargers wide receiver Jason Moore Jr.

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Kelvin Joseph tackles Chargers large receiver Jason Moore Jr. through the first quarter Saturday.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Occasions)

The analysis of the working backs received’t merely be totaling the yards gained. It is going to be extra nuanced, factoring in minor particulars and contemplating the context of every play.

In opposition to the Rams final weekend, Staley famous how Kelley transformed a 3rd and 6 on a check-down cross and the way Spiller maximized a pair runs in heavy visitors.

Staley additionally praised Rountree’s toughness on one run that netted extra yards than may need been anticipated.

“Larry had a really good contact run … where it was kind of mano a mano in the hole,” Staley mentioned, “and he makes contact and falls forward two-and-a-half, three more yards.”

The Chargers will return to observe Monday at their coaching facility in Costa Mesa to organize for his or her preseason finale Friday in New Orleans.

The deadline for the following spherical of roster cuts is Tuesday, when the NFL mandates that groups transfer from 85 to 80 gamers. The 53-man rosters are due Aug. 30.

The Chargers’ regular-season opener is scheduled to kick off at 1:25 p.m. Sept. 11 towards Las Vegas at SoFi Stadium.