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Bolts Look to Build On Recent Defensive Success

FTP 11.17

Below are three takeaways from Chargers Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi, Chargers Defensive Coordinator Renaldo Hill and defensive lineman Morgan Fox from Thursday's media sessions:

Defense looks to build off Week 10 showing

Despite losing a couple of players in Week 10, the Chargers defense played as complete of a game as they have all year.

With San Francisco having an arsenal of weapons across the board, Chargers Defensive Coordinator Renaldo Hill was pleased with the overall performance.

"I thought we played with good effort," Hill said. "We competed for the complete game. We tried to make it difficult for those guys. Tried to really force them to really work up the field and maximize their time.

"We knew they had a lot of talent at all skill positions and we just wanted to make sure they worked if they were going to try to move the ball for a score," Hill added

All eyes were on the Chargers run defense, as that group had given up long touchdown runs and was going against a stout 49ers rushing attack.

Overall, the run defense held their own, holding the Niners to 3.8 yards per carry and a long of only 15 yards in 41 attempts.

Hill thought that defense improved against the run on Sunday but will hope to keep building on it because at the end of the day, it was only one week.

"We definitely did," Hill said on if his run defense improved. "We challenged those guys, as well. Obviously, we're going to keep doing it.

"We know one week won't solve it, but we have to keep challenging those guys, and as far as coaches, keep putting them into good positions so that they can go play the run effectively," Hill added.

What awaits them Sunday is a Kansas City team that can test the Bolts in a variety of ways. The defense is aware of what they must do to come out with a win, as the Chargers-Chiefs games seemingly always come down to the wire.

"I think it's going to be a battle," said Morgan Fox. "Just talking to all to a couple people, these games have come down pretty close, especially the last couple years. It's going to be a fight.

"It's going to be who can create the most plays and stay disciplined and get the job done the best," Fox added.

Bolts prepare for aggressive defense

Kansas City's offense gets the majority of the headlines, but the defense's aggressiveness is an underrated part of the equation when going up against this Chiefs team.

According to analytics website Pro Football Focus, the Chiefs blitz on 28.8 percent of all defensive snaps, which ranks 10th in the league.

Chargers Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi knows that while their offense can make keep any game close, their aggressiveness on defense can let them compete in any type of game.

"They are very aggressive on defense, and so a lot of times, it creates negative plays," Lombardi said. "The way that they play, it's kind of feast-or-famine, at times, and so I just think the aggressiveness of how they play on both sides of the ball, it seems like they are in every game."

With veteran defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo at the helm of the Chiefs defense, Lombardi acknowledged the back and forth that will likely take place. As aggressive as Spagnuolo and the Kansas City defense can be, there are times where they aren't.

Lombardi said that even though the playbook doesn't look that different, the game flow will be a huge indicator of what kind of game the Chiefs defense is playing.

"I think that when you have looked at a defense or a coordinator as long as we have looked at [Chiefs Defensive Coordinator Steve] Spagnuolo, there are sometimes cycles to the way he is calling games," Lombardi said. "There are periods where maybe they are less aggressive with the blitzes, and then there are times where it feels like they are dialing it up a little more consistently.

"The overall playbook, I don't think, has been hugely different. It's just trying to get a feel for how he is calling a particular game. That's always part of the cat-and-mouse game," Lombardi added.

The Chargers will look to build a rhythm regardless of what the Kansas City defense looks like, similar to what they had in the first couple drives of Week 10, as avoiding quick drives will not only benefit the offense, but the defense as well against a team like the Chiefs.

"Our goal is always to sustain drives and score," Lombardi said. "We don't mind scoring in one play, if we can, but they are definitely an explosive offense that if you can keep them off the field, it certainly helps. All of that being said, you are just trying to get into rhythm.

"What you really want to avoid are the three-and-outs when you are only out there for a minute or so and then they have the ball again," Lombardi added. "It's definitely a balance you want to strike."

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

Both teams dealing with WR injuries

Both the Chargers and Chiefs are watching how a plethora of wide receivers deal with injuries this week.

For the Bolts, Keenan Allen (hamstring) and Mike Williams (ankle) were limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday.

While their game status is still up in the air, Chargers Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi knows the impact that duo could have.

"If they are going [to play], it's huge," Lombardi said. "Obviously, they are our two best receivers. If they are out there and healthy, it's a big boost."

Allen has five touchdown receptions in his past seven games against Kansas City, while Williams has found the end zone six times in his past eight games against the Chiefs.

On the Kansas City side, the Chiefs placed wide receiver Mecole Hardman on Injured Reserve on Thursday with an abdominal injury.

Kansas City is also monitoring that status of JuJu Smith‐Schuster, who is in concussion protocol.

"You take it day‐by‐day. We'll be cautious with it," said Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid on Wednesday. "We're not going to do anything that you shouldn't do according to what the data shows and how he feels."

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