Here's a breakdown of the news from the Chargers' fifth week of the season:
Tuesday: Lighting strikes on "Monday Night Football"
After lighting struck over SoFi stadium on "Monday Night Football," the Chargers took down one of two undefeated teams in the NFL. Their 28-14 win over the Raiders put the Chargers atop the AFC West and 2-0 in the division. On Monday night, head coach Brandon Staley made it clear that this would be a team that will go for it on fourth down by converting two key fourth downs against the Raiders. Staley explained the trust level he has in quarterback Justin Herbert to make those big plays.
"Full trust — that's what he earns on a day-to-day basis," Staley said. "With how hard he works, how he prepares and how he performs in those got-to-have-it situations. He's got that cool, calm, composure that affects everyone in a positive way. Including me. He executed very well tonight."
Herbert, who in just two "Monday Night Football" games in his career, has throw for seven touchdowns. He also became the first quarterback in the Super Bowl Era to have over 500 completions before his 20th career start. On Tuesday, Herbert talked about what he loves about the Bolts this year.
"I love that we take it week by week," Herbert said. "I really believe in the guys in this locker room. But it's all about each week of preparation. We never look too far ahead, we never look back. You can't let Dallas beat you again and you can't let the Chiefs win. You can't let that hold you back. It's all about this next week of preparation and I know guys in that locker room attack every week like it's nothing, so it's awesome."
Staley talked about building the 'trust and belief system' throughout the week so that when it comes to game day, the Bolts are ready for those big moments.
"It's an environment where guys can learn from their mistakes and become as good as they can be and really kind of be put in the fire from a preparation standpoint so that when something tough happens it's not the first time that it's happened during the week."
Wednesday: Getting things done 'Our Way'
By Wednesday the Chargers full focus was on game planning for the Cleveland Browns, particularly the rushing duo of running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. The two backs have been the main force behind a league best 177 net rushing yards per game this season. Veteran DT, Linval Joseph, talked about what the defensive line needs to do to slow down the Browns backfield on Sunday.
"This week, preparation is all about making sure we are lined up in the right gaps," Joseph said. "Making sure we know what we're doing, making sure we are all in sync...like I said it's going to be a challenge; however, you want to look at it, it's going to be a challenge they got two great backs, they are both top five. I love a challenge; I can't wait for Sunday."
Fresh off a career night with 117 yards on the ground, Austin Ekeler talked about getting things done 'our way' a phrase that the Bolts have rallied behind this year and what those words mean to him.
"It's making sure that we are all on the same page and we know what we want to get done and we can all go forward and agree upon something," Ekeler said. "I love that about [coach Staley] because he's open to us, really connecting with us and makes it a really positive environment where we can go, and bounce things off each other."
Thursday: Derwin James, a jack of all trades
A main focus of Thursday’s press conference with Drue Tranquill, Renaldo Hill and Joe Lombardi was the versatility and unique skill set of Derwin James. James who wears the green dot on his helmet calls the plays on defense, something that very few safeties are tasked with. Along with that, James plays five different positions in Staley's defensive scheme. While Staley know it's a tall order to ask of James, it's vital for the Chargers' defense.
"He's one of the few guys in the entire world that can do it," Staley said on Wednesday. "He's also our signal-caller. The weight of that is real. Like I said, I'm sensitive to that because if Derwin James we're just doing two jobs out of five, it would be easier for him — and you may see more production from him — but it wouldn't be as good for our team. Him playing five roles for us helps us be the best defense and the best team that we can be. That's why he's amazing."
Team reporter Hayley Elwood also was able to catch up with wide receiver Mike Williams about his hot start to the 2021 season in ‘X Marks the Spot for Mike Williams.’
Friday: Preparing for the Browns front seven
On Friday, Staley gave his final comments on the Browns, specifically focusing on the strength of the Browns defense. Rookie tackle Rashawn Slater has already had tough assignments this season in the pass protection but facing Myles Garrett this weekend is arguably his toughest assignment to date.
"They just have a lot of quality players in there," Staley said." I think their front is definitely the strength of their team. I think the way that they're playing on defense right now, it doesn't just reflect a good front-seven, it reflects a complete defense. I have a lot of respect for their secondary. They added two of the guys that I coached, who I have the utmost respect for — [Browns S] John Johnson [III] and [Browns CB] Troy Hill. They have [Browns CB] Denzel Ward, [Browns S] Ronnie Harrison [Jr.], [Browns S] Grant Delpit, [Browns CB] Greedy Williams. They have a lot of guys out there in the secondary that are quality players, too. You don't play the type of defense that they've been able to play if you don't have a complete defense."
Herbert talked about his instincts in the pocket and his ability to know when and where to deliver the football. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi explained earlier in the week that Herbert's instincts are something you can't teach, but for Herbert it took countless reps and hours in the film room to develop that skill.
"I appreciate the kind words from [Joe Lombardi]," Herbert said. "I think it's taken a lot of time to figure that out…especially having Joe [Lombardi] and Shane [Day] in our quarterback room, I've learned so much more from them. Talking about that all week and going out and seeing it and repping it and going through it, maybe we don't make that play without those guys. I think a lot of it can be learned in the film room, especially when Shane and Joe are teaching us."
Staley also explained that veteran cornerback Chris Harris Jr. is on track to return to action on Sunday, barring any setbacks. Staley said Harris won't be on a reps limit if he return and he has felt good during practice this week.
Odds and Ends
Videos of the Week
All In: Episode 4 | Here to Win
The fourth episode of 'All In' aired on YouTube this Friday. This episode takes a deep dive into the back-to-back wins against Kansas City and Las Vegas in Week 3 and 4. Take a behind the scenes look at all that went into the Chargers 3-1 start to the 2021 season.
This week also brought a collection of videos to Chargers fans, take a look at the top videos released throughout the week.
Film Room: This week's edition of 'Film Room' takes a closer look at what makes Joey Bosa and Myles Garrett elite pass rushers and previews the Week 5 matchup vs. the Cleveland Browns.
Chargers Share Stories of Those Affected By Cancer:
Members of the Chargers including head coach Brandon Staley recount stories of people in their life who have been affected by cancer. This video, a part of the league's 'Crucial Catch' initiative also focuses on the importance of early detection in the fight against cancer.
Mic'd Up: Keenan Allen vs. Las Vegas Raiders:
Take a look back at the the Chargers 28-14 victory over the Raiders through the lens of Chargers wide receiver, Keenan Allen. Watch as Allen talks with a Chargers legend during pre-game warmups and all the in game action from "Modnday Night Football."
Tweets of the Week
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