The Chargers will be traveling to the Nation’s Capital to face the Washington Football Team on Sunday at 10 a.m. PT. The game will be on CBS with Spero Dedes as the play-by-play analyst and former NFL kicker Jay Feeley as the color commentator.
It will be the Chargers first game under Brandon Staley and Co., so the offense, defense, and special teams will be under a microscope. They will be facing a tough Washington team that plays hard under head coach Ron Rivera.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick leads the offense, so the defense knows they have to rattle him early to not let his alter ego FitzMagic face them. On the defensive side, the Chargers offensive line will be facing a front four full of first-rounders.
“I’ve evaluated all these guys and had to compete against them last year,” said Staley. “Not only are they very talented, but they’re very well-coached. [Defensive Coordinator] Jack Del Rio, [Head Coach] Ron Rivera; those are two very good defensive coaches. They certainly played like it last year. I have a lot of respect for all those guys. Montez [Sweat] and Chase [Young] on the edge. Then, on the inside, you have Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen. Those guys are really good players. I think their defense starts with that group.”
The Chargers number one plan during the offseason was to revamp their offensive line. They have four new starters along with the only carry-over right tackle Bryan Bulaga. This will be a great test right off the bat. The defensive line of Washington is one of the best in the NFL, led by Chase Young. They will need to give Herbert time to operate, so it will be interesting to see how they hold up.
Defensive player to watch
Derwin James. After two years of missing football due to injuries, James could be coming out like Edge at Royal Rumble 2020. SPEAR! SPEAR! SPEAR! James must be foaming at the mouth to get back on the field and go up against an opposing team. He is the leader of the defense and has looked fantastic in camp. He sat all preseason games, so this will be his first opportunity to face the opposing team and will be needed, especially against tight end Logan Thomas.
Offensive player to watch
Mike Williams. Since being interrupted while working out to speak to the media in minicamp, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said to expect a big year from Williams, especially because he would be in the Michael Thomas role in this offense. He should be looked at not just for the long ball but in other areas and make more grabs. It will be interesting to watch his new role.
Key to the game
This will be the first time that quarterback Justin Herbert will be in Lombardi’s offensive system. What is it going to look like? Will Herbert thrive under it? Here will be the first test. Herbert in year two will be something to keep an eye on, and going up against this defense will be the first test. Year 2 Herbert could match Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson’s second season, this could start it.
Washington are a one-point favorite against the Chargers. This will be the opening game of the season, where it will be Herbert vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick. The offensive line for the Chargers should hold up while the defense will be able to get after Fitz. It should be a good opening win for Brandon Staley and his staff.
Chargers 27 WFT 19