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Dicker Embraces Bigger Role as Bolts Look Ahead to Cards

FTP 11.23

Below are three takeaways from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley, safety Derwin James, Jr. and kicker Cameron Dicker from Wednesday's media sessions:

Dicker ready after Hopkins moved to IR

The Chargers took the practice field on Wednesday afternoon with a new kicker on the active roster.

On Tuesday afternoon, the team announced kicker Cameron Dicker was moving to the active roster from the practice squad. The Bolts also placed kicker Dustin Hopkins on Injured Reserve with a hamstring issue, meaning Hopkins will be out for at least the next four games.

"He just didn't make enough progress to get back," Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley said Wednesday about Hopkins. "[Hopkins] just wasn't making good enough progress for him to come back and kick so moved him to IR and keep Cam as apart of our football team."

According to Staley, Hopkins suffered a setback after kicking last Friday that led to the move being made.

In terms of a timetable for his return, it remains unknown as of right now.

"I don't know," Staley said. "I'm not going to speculate on that at this point."

But Staley also noted that Dicker's performance played a role, too.

"Both things are true," Staley said.

This means Dicker will continue to be the team's kicker while Hopkins remains out — something the rookie kicker has excelled at thus far.

Even after having a more set role rather than being elevated from the practice squad, Dicker's mindset continues to remain the same.

"Still kick-by-kick," Dicker said. "I'm rolling with it and doing the best I can for the team.

"I feel good," Dicker later added. "The team was very welcoming to me so it's cool to be in here now in a more so full-time role. But everyone has been awesome."

A perfect 7-for-7 on field goals with the Bolts, Dicker's transition to the team has been made easier by the help he's received from many different players on the roster.

"JK [Scott], Josh [Harris] and Dustin [Hopkins]. Even Taylor [Bertolet]," Dicker said. "Everyone has helped out with everything I've needed."

Does being on the active roster help settle him down?

Dicker says "a little bit", especially considering how the last couple weeks have gone for him. From winning AFC Special Teams Player of the Week in his Chargers debut to now, Dicker is enjoying it and taking it all in.

"It's been fun and been crazy," Dicker said. "It's just a blessing to be able to play football. To do it for work is a pretty cool thing to do.

"It's just been full of blessings for myself and it's been really fun," Dicker added.

Preparing for a talented Cardinals team

Sitting at 5-5 and ninth in the AFC, every game from here on out will be crucial for the Chargers to stay in the playoff hunt.

Currently on a two-game skid, they look to get back in the win column this Sunday in Arizona.

Despite their 4-7 record, the Cardinals still have a good team that has suffered through many injuries, making them a dangerous opponent, according to Staley.

"I think that they have encountered a lot of challenges this year, in terms of being cleaned out by injuries," Staley said. "They are still a very dangerous team. They have played everybody really tough. The season is not over yet. They still have a really good team.

"They are a very dangerous team and there is a reason why people thought of them that way, because they have a good enough team to beat you," Staley later added. "We're going to have to be at our best on Sunday, for sure."

Specifically on offense, the Cardinals have one of the better QB-WR combos in the NFL. With Arizona set to get their quarterback Kyler Murray back, the Cardinals offense will get a big boost.

Murray's ability to move around and scramble makes him one of the tougher quarterbacks to defend. But safety Derwin James, Jr. added that while he does do those things, it's the way he does it that presents a different skillset compared to other scrambling quarterbacks.

"He's different because I feel like he's smaller, more elusive, quicker," James said. "He's always looking down the field. I feel like Kyler presents his own challenges."

Check out the best shots from the Chargers Week 11 Sunday Night Football matchup with the Chiefs at SoFi Stadium

Despite missing the first six games of the year, Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins continues to play at an elite level, as Staley knows his defense will have to be at their best on Sunday.

"DeAndre is one of the top receivers in the game, one of the top players in the game," Staley said. "He has been for a long time. Rare ball judge, strong hands. He's a bull.

"He has done a lot to give that offense a lot of production since he has gotten there," Staley added. "Full respect for his game. We're going to have to be at our best."

On the defensive side, the Cardinals remain one of the highest blitzing teams in the NFL. They blitz on 37.9 percent of opponents dropbacks, and Staley knows that the experience of his quarterback Justin Herbert and center Corey Linsley will be huge come Sunday.

"I know, being in the division with them, and then studying him from afar, that's a big part of how they play," Staley said. "They have a lot of good blitzers. They have good front players, but then they have good linebackers and secondary players that can blitz as well; inside linebackers, safeties, nickels. That's a big part of how they play."

"You definitely need experience because there are a lot of looks that they give you," Staley later added. "The more looks that they give you, you have to be able to comprehend all of that, process it, and make sure that we are in the right thing."

Check out the best photos of the Chargers Wednesday practice at Hoag Performance Center

Williams, Kelley on the mend

As usual, Staley provided a handful of injury updates at his Wednesday press conference.

Wide receiver Mike Williams did not practice Wednesday, but Staley said he is "making progress" with an ankle injury he aggravated Sunday.

"We're just going to kind of take it day-by-day with him, but nothing significant after the game," said Staley, who added Williams could possibly play against Arizona.

Kenneth Murray, Jr., who suffered a neck injury in Week 11, was a full participant Wednesday.

And tight end Gerald Everett, who missed Sunday with a groin injury, was limited.

Running back Joshua Kelley, who is currently on Injured Reserve with a knee injury, returned to practice and was going through individual drills Wednesday.

Staley said the decision of whether or not to activate Kelley off IR will be made this weekend.

"We're going to see the type of progress he makes," Staley said.

If he is good to go in the game, if we feel like he's had a good week, then he'll certainly be active for the game."

He later added: "We're going to have a full week and see him go and see how he responds to each practice. Like you said, you open that practice window, and we'll try to take advantage of it and let his performance kind of guide us, in terms of being up this week or not."

Kelley said Wednesday that he'll be amped up for his potential return to the field.

"Just go out there and be me. No matter what it is … pass pro, running, special teams … just go out there and be myself," Kelley said. "It's been a long time and it's scary when you're not playing football.

"It's something I've been doing a long time … and you miss it," Kelley added.

As for outside linebacker Joey Bosa's impending return?

"No update," Staley said.

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