This will be the last game before the final preseason game. Head coach Brandon Staley spoke for about 20 minutes with the media as final cut days are on the horizon, so there are some spots up for grabs.
Staley mentioned that Chase Daniel will start at quarterback, and Easton Stick will play in the second half. That means Daniel will have had two starts and one backup game while Stick is vice versa.
"There's a lot in the game that you can evaluate," explained Staley. "How they're operating in and out of the huddle. The decisions that they're making when they're under duress, because even with our first team o-line in there when you go against a really good front, you're going to have pockets that are like that so your decision making the operation in and out of the huddle, are you seeing the game the right way. So, I think that's a big factor in it and then what happens out here in practice."
When asked about if the offensive line, minus the veterans, or some other players will play on Saturday, Staley mentioned that they would meet to layout who plays and who doesn't Thursday night.
So, this game will be the final opportunity guys get to make an impression before cut-down day.
Mike Williams comeback?
The offense has been without wide receiver Mike Williams for a little more than two weeks ago due to a hip flexor injury. He has missed some crucial practice time but should be coming back sooner rather than later.
According to Staley, Williams should be back next week. He has been doing some individual drills this week, but that is it.
"We should be able to get them out there on the practice field and start to get his wind in more of a practice setting where he's running routes, and this week was a good foundation for him coming back, and it's going to be a big lift for the offense," said Staley.
This seems like the biggest rollercoaster ride of camp. It has more twists and turns than Formula Rossa, located in Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. On Thursday, both Tristan Vizcaino and Michael Badgley went 3/5 for field goals.
"I've enjoyed watching it unfold," said Staley. "I think that from an operations standpoint, I think Overton and Ty Long event exceptional since those guys have kind of gotten into rhythm together so we can get a clear evaluation of the kickers because, from an operational standpoint, it's even."
Staley pointed out that Vizcaino "will start" on Saturday, but they will give both kickers a chance to compete for the job. Much like the quarterback two spot, this one seems like it is coming down to the end.
He also mentioned that they are looking for more than just a kicker who can make field goals. They want a kicker that can also kickoff with some hangtime.
Staley mentioned that he wants guys like receiver Michael Bandy and cornerback K.J. Sails to have a shot at punt return. They both had some work all week with K.J. Hill and others being on the sideline with injuries.
Defensive line not playing?
There has been a lot of confusion on why defensive tackles Jerry Tillery and Justin Jones haven't played a preseason game. Staley had mentioned previously that he didn't feel like the Rams backup offensive line would be a good test for either one.
On Thursday afternoon, Staley was honest about why a non-proven player like Tillery is not playing and cornerback Michael Davis has played.
"We just don't have the same depth there that we have in the secondary," said Staley. So, I think the depth plays a factor in that, for sure. I think that Vato understands that. I think that there's an element of how we play. It's a little bit different than how they played before in the secondary, where we wanted Mike to be out there functioning the way we play. Knowing that we needed him to because we were down from secondary guys. So, it was good to get him that quarter of work."
Ending Training Camp
The Chargers decided to have some fun at the end of their final training camp practice. Staley decided to line up the offense on one side and the defense on another. Each unit sent one player to catch a punt from the jug machine.
The defense sent safety Derwin James first, and he made the grab. Quarterback Justin Herbert made it for the offense. Defensive tackle Linval Joseph dropped the attempt, and center Corey Linsley was able to secure it for the offense. Lastly, edge rusher Joey Bosa slowly walked up to the ball and caught it like nothing. The offense sent rookie left tackle Rashawn Slater, who made the grab to win it for the offense.
"It was time to have some fun," explained Staley. "I think our guys earned it. This is the last kind of practice before the end of the preseason, and thought our guys, number one, had a really good practice, and I think to just looking back reflecting on a training camp, I think a job well done by everybody here coaches, player staff, and it was that perfect sweet spot to earn an opportunity to have some fun at the end of practice."