The preseason finale is set for Saturday night, as the Chargers will take on the Seahawks at Lumen Stadium in Seattle, WA.
Here’s a closer look at the top positional battles on the defensive side of the ball ahead of Los Angeles’ matchup against Seattle.
Interior defensive line
The guys up front have all been impressive this past month, which has made the evaluation process rather difficult. Cortez Broughton has looked like the best that he has since entering the league, but Joe Gaziano and Willie Yarbary have also made some noise. Meanwhile, Breiden Fehoko and Forrest Merrill have been neck and neck for the backup spot to Linval Joseph. All eyes should be on the play in trenches tonight.
There are four players that will fill out the room, with those being Kenneth Murray, Drue Tranquill, Kyzir White and Nick Niemann. If the team decides to roll with five, it will likely be filled by either Amen Ogbongbemiga or Cole Christiansen. Ogbongbemiga is not going to play, as he is dealing with an AC joint sprain. Despite not playing, Ogbongbemiga still has the slight leg up due to his special teams upside. However, Christiansen has been a tackling machine, which could change the coach’s minds.
Like the linebacker group, there are four spots that are locked up by Michael Davis, Chris Harris Jr., Asante Samuel Jr. and Brandon Facyson. The team will likely carry nine defensive backs, leaving one for a corner. Ryan Smith was seen as a lock, but he’s been out with a core muscle injury. Los Angeles could place Smith on injured reserve, and he would be allowed to return sometime during the season. Kemon Hall, John Brannon and Tevaughn Campbell, who have all shined, will be fighting for the job.
It appeared to be all Tristan Vizcaino throughout the summer, but Michael Badgley kicked his way into having a slight advantage this past week. Head coach Brandon Staley said that he wants both kickers to have a fair shot, which likely means more field goal opportunities will be given on a rotational basis. Leg strength on kickoffs will also be an important deciding factor.