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5Qs, 5As with the Chargers: Which receiver has dominated training camp so far?

(Josh) Palmer has made magnificent play after magnificent play and it’s pretty wild to see

Los Angeles Rams v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

For the second consecutive year, the Los Angeles Rams will be kicking off their preseason slate against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. The Rams may have gotten obliterated in the regular season meeting but at least they won the preseason affair. So let the battle for LA commence once more!

Similar to the Rams, that other LA team has seen unexpected receiver play coming from one of their youngsters. I’ll discuss who to be on the lookout for this Saturday and more with Michael Peterson from SB Nation’s Chargers blog Bolts From the Blue.

Q - Who has been the main standout in training camp so far?

A - There’s been a number of players who have taken a turn being the focal point of training camp thus far, but if I had to give you one, I’d say it’s been wide receiver Josh Palmer. Especially through the second week of camp, Palmer has made magnificent play after magnificent play and it’s pretty wild to see as he was expected to be the team’s WR4 this season behind Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and first-rounder Quentin Johnston. Despite there only being enough room for so many to eat in this offense, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has said that he plans on using all four of his “starting-caliber” receivers in various packages this season.

Q - Using my Uno reverse card, who has been the biggest disappointment in camp?

A - There truly hasn’t been anyone that’s been a blatant disappointment through camp up to this point, but one name I was hoping to hear more about by now is second-year safety JT Woods. Woods was selected in the third round of the 2022 NFL draft out of Baylor where many believed that was a decent reach by the Chargers. As a rookie, Woods rarely saw time on defense during the regular season and a big reason for that was his lack of consistent tackling ability. He had a missed tackle in the team’s first preseason game last year (also against the Rams) that directly led to a touchdown and he let up another score off a broken tackle during the season against the Cardinals. Through camp, we’ve heard much more about Alohi Gilman and Mark Webb at safety, both of which were selected later than Woods in their respective draft classes.

Q- Have there been any notable surprises and how has LA’s rookie class fared in practice?

A - If there was one notable surprise in camp thus far, it’s that J.C. Jackson was able to return from his serious knee injury so much faster than anyone really expected. He was out there on day one guarding Keenan Allen and others during seven-on-seven periods and only just recently have to sit out due to (expected) inflammation. As far as the rookie class goes, Johnston has been very steady. The same goes for second-rounder Tuli Tuipulotu and third-rounder Daiyan Henley. Fourth-round pick Derius Davis has mainly stuck to his returner role while seeing minimal snaps on offense. The first day that Rashawn Slater missed with an illness, fifth-round pick Jordan McFadden took first-team snaps at left tackle which shows us that the coaching staff has been liking what they’ve seen so far from him.

Q - What would you like to see most out of the Chargers in their first preseason game against the Rams?

A - As far as what I’d like to see in the team’s first preseason game, I’d say that I just want to see a semblance of cohesion throughout the first, second, and third teams. No matter if they’re an immediate impact player or not, I think being able to go out and simply look like they’ve got the offense/defense down would be a huge win. That, and no serious injuries, of course.

Q - What are your realistic expectations for the Chargers as they head into Brandon Staley’s third season at the helm?

A - I think this year’s expectations have to start where last season ended. Brandon Staley has improved on his final record in each of his first two seasons and I think the bar starts with at least 11 wins and a playoff victory in 2023. If the Chargers can’t accomplish that, I fear that Justin Herbert might have to take on his different third coaching staff through his first five seasons.