Chargers vs 49ers: Week 2 NFL preseason preview

Justin Herbert should make his preseason debut as the Los Angeles Chargers host the San Francisco 49ers Sunday afternoon. We’re also excited to see how 49ers rookie Trey Lance looks after showing flashes in his debut. Below, we preview the coming Chargers vs 49ers Week 2 NFL preseason matchup.

Chargers vs 49ers: What you need to know

Find out where the Chargers and 49ers stand in our most-recent NFL power rankings

Trey Lance vs Jimmy Garoppolo

chargers vs 49ers: trey lance, jimmy garoppolo qb competition
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Lance completed just 5-of-14 passes in his NFL debut last Saturday. However, one of those completions was an 80-yard bomb for a touchdown. Multiple 49ers receivers dropped perfectly thrown balls from the talented youngster, too. Meanwhile, Jimmy Garoppolo completed all three of his passes in limited playing time.

  • Real QB competition in San Francisco? It remains likely that Garoppolo will be San Francisco’s Week 1 starter against the Detroit Lions. Despite the flashes Lance showed in his debut, head coach Kyle Shanahan is seemingly sticking to his guns here. Whether that remains the case depends heavily on what we see Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles.
  • Helping Trey Lance more: One thing that stood out last weekend was the poor offensive line play in front of Lance. He was sacked four times. If San Francisco expects him to play a role as a rookie, its brass must allow Lance to play behind the team’s starting offensive line for multiple drives come Sunday. Lance also needs to find a connection with the likes of George Kittle, who did not play in the opener. The onus is on Shanahan to make this happen.
Tim Tebow is now playing tight end for the Jaguars.

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Justin Herbert vs San Francisco 49ers secondary

chargers vs 49ers: justin herbert
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Entering his second NFL season, Justin Herbert sat out Los Angeles’ win over the Rams last week. He’s now going to make his 2021 preseason debut Sunday at home in front of fans. It’s high time that the Chargers’ new coaching staff lets Herbert spin it.

  • Justin Herbert’s relationship with Joe Lombardi: In his first year as the Chargers’ offensive coordinator, Lombardi spent the past half-decade as the New Orleans Saints’ quarterbacks coach. We’re intrigued to see how Herbert looks in this newly-installed offense as he enters what promises to be an important sophomore campaign.
  • Young 49ers secondary: Last week saw Shanahan and Co. pretty much rest the 49ers’ entire starting defense. In their stead, rookie draft picks Deommodore Lenoir, Ambry Thomas and Talanoa Hufanga played exceedingly well. How will they look against better competition come Sunday afternoon? It will be telling.

49ers offensive line vs Chargers pass rushers

chargers vs 49ers: trey lance
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As noted above, Lance was forced to play behind San Francisco’s backup offensive line last week. More than cringing when he got hit, a lot of people in Northern California didn’t believe that this made sense. Will Shanahan and Co. let Lance excel behind the team’s No. 1 group of pass protectors come Sunday?

  • Giving Trey Lance a fighting chance: None of this is to say that Lance didn’t make rookie mistakes last week. He held on to the ball too long. The 49ers’ playbook wasn’t opened up. But if Lance is going to play a role as a rookie, he needs to see action behind the starters. That’s especially true with what Los Angeles plans to throw out there Sunday.
  • Chargers defensive line could be a game changer: Rookie Chris Rumph and fellow youngster Emeke Egbule played well in the Chargers’ preseason opener. That’s good for depth. What we’re now focused on heading into Sunday is whether Joey Bosa and 2018 draft pick Uchenna Nwosu play. What we see from them will play a huge role in how the Chargers perform under defensive-minded first year head coach Brandon Staley.

Related: Click here to find out where the Chargers defense ranks

Bottom line: This Chargers vs 49ers matchup will be telling for both sides heading into the regular season. We fully expect the starters to play a ton as they prepare for actual meaningful games. However, the biggest story heading into this one is Trey Lance and Justin Herbert going up against one another.