SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 11: Doug Baldwin #15 of the Seattle Seahawks catches a pass as he is pushed out of bounds by Ramon Broadway #30 of the San Diego Chargers during the NFL preseason game at Qualcomm Stadium on August 11, 2011 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
As meaningless as the final scores are for preseason games, these games matter a lot for individual players, whether it be drafted rookies with something to prove or fringe players trying to make the team. So here are five performances I felt were noteworthy from our offense. Noteworthy doesn't mean it's positive, just that they stood out to me.
John Moffitt: It was interesting to watch both Moffitt and James Carpenter play. I felt Moffitt played better than James Carpenter, who struggled a bit in pass protection (nearly giving up sacks while protecting Tarvaris, and giving up a third-quarter sack when being pushed back by San Diego standout Darryl Gamble, which was negated by a penalty). Moffitt moved really well as a run-blocker, relentlessly blocking through and moving from block to block to keep it moving. He held the point of attack as a pass-blocker, using his hands really well. The biggest but not surprising problem from the game was apparent confusion about his assignments, as several times he was needlessly trying to double-block or looking unsure in space. A matter of more time to learn.
Leon Washington: Thomas Clayton was used early and often but aside from one well-blocked 25-yard run he did very little with the opportunity. Pete was anxious to see how Washington would look on the field now that he's fully recovered and, well, he easily looked like our best running back out there. 8 rushes for 23 yards doesn't make for an impressive statline, but his skillset was on full display on several runs, Washington hitting the smallest hole decisively and fast for significant gains. With the kickoff rules being what they are, we should expect to see a lot more from a healthy Washington.
Doug Baldwin: With five of our WRs out, Golden Tate and Isaiah Stanback started, but Doug Baldwin was right behind them. He made four catches on four targets for 29 yards, and was in on kick coverage teams, and as the punt returner twice and kick returner once, returning the punts for 23 yards and the kickoff following the TD return against us for 41 yards. He showed his skills throughout the game, particularly in the scoring drive in the 3rd quarter, which opened with back-to-back passes to Baldwin, for 8 and 6 yards. He looks like he could be the real deal as a slot receiver, a good runner with good sudden moves to get separation, and is definitely an UDFA worth keeping an eye on.
Josh Portis: Portis' first drive started at the 41 thanks to Baldwin's aforementioned solid return, and he played horribly. His first three throws, Portis overthrew Chris Carter badly, underthrew Ricardo Lockette and then put another ball out of reach of Pat Williams. He scrambled on 4th and 3 to close his second drive, turning the ball over on downs after a 2 yard run.
Going into his third drive, he played out of the shotgun less, the Seahawks instead giving him a nice 3-step drop and quick out to get him comfortable. This resulted in three nice passes for 8, 23 and 16 yards to Carter, Byrd and Lockett. The 23-yard pass on a deep cross from Byrd particularly looked good, a well-executed play-action by Portis. He would target Anthony McCoy three more times to close the drive. The first went incomplete, but the second saw nice progression reading by Portis, finding his first read incomplete he went to McCoy on the cross for 16 yards on 3rd and 6. The final one saw Portis keeping the play alive while also keeping his eyes downfield, and then throwing across his chest to a wide-open McCoy in the back of the endzone. Portis showed surprising poise as a 3-step-drop, pocket passer, and while he definitely looked too uneven over the entirety of the game (including limited pre-snap reading, explained by lack of experience) to anoint him as anything, he did flash the skills that made us pick him up as an UDFA.
Tyler Polumbus: Polumbus didn't look ready when he came in to replace an injured Russell Okung, and immediately gave up a sack. He stayed in to protect Charlie Whitehurst (as did Moffitt and Carpenter, well into the 3rd), and steadily improved as the game went on. And don't think he was just defending against scrubs, the Chargers kept some names in there, particularly with Polumbus and Robert Gallery lining up opposite 1st-round DE Corey Liuget, and between the two of them they handled him well. He had a holding penalty at an unfortunate moment in the 2nd quarter, but honestly he held up well down the line. I still like him better as a guard than as a tackle, and wouldn't like to see him as our starting LT, but he didn't play as badly as his first snaps would indicate.
Speaking of Liuget, he and Darryl Gamble flashed at the end of the second quarter with two back-to-back tackle for losses on Leon Washington (resulting in a 4th-19 that was negated by a holding penalty), but rewatching it now, the first ToF was caused by a whiffed block by John Carlson, and the second by two bad blocks on both players by Carlson and Anthony McCoy. Need to block better than that to keep Cable happy. Carlson, with bad blocks and one reception on three targets, had a pretty bad game.