It's official. We've made it to game week and just like last year this season provides new updates to the NFL schedule. This year, teams played three preseason games and were given an extra week to prepare for their Week 1 opponents. For veteran players like wide receiver Keenan Allen, they were able to use the 'bonus week' to rest up and prepare for the league's first ever 18-week schedule.
"You get an extra week," Allen said. "So, you get a whole extra week to look at those guys and kind of pick up a gameplan, start focusing on things and start seeing what they're doing. You get a chance to look at it a whole week early instead of playing a preseason game worried about getting injured, so I think it's great."
A topic discussed frequently during Monday's media availability was the pass rush of Washington. Allen talked about what the offense needs to do to slow the pass rush down on Sunday.
"Gotta get open faster, tight ends might not be able to get out, gotta chip those guys," he said. "Obviously Chase Young and Montez Sweat they some beasts, so we definitely going to have to slow them down."
Like Washington, the Bolts also have a lethal pass rusher. Outside linebacker, Joey Bosa talked about what he's seen from Chase Young as he heads into his second year for Washington.
"He was a very nice kid, Bosa said. "It was great to get to meet him. He's obviously one hell of a player, a freak athlete. He had a great rookie season. I definitely heard his name a lot last year. It's a testament to Coach Johnson, what he teaches and how we do things at Ohio State. He's a great player. I'm excited to see the matchup again with [T] Rashawn [Slater] and him."
Even though Slater has yet to play an NFL regular season game, the rookie already has experience blocking Young during his time at Northwestern. Bosa talked about how he can help Slater prepare for his first NFL battle against Young.
"Me playing against him," Bosa said. "I like Rashawn, I think that he's a really good player. He's a nice kid, so I've been trying to mess with him a little bit over the last month or whatever. As we keep going, I like to talk ball with the tackles, especially when they're good players — 'What did you see here with me?' Then, he can ask me, 'How did I get on this set? Did I give up this or that?" He's done a really good job of learning from his mistakes. When he beats me, I learn, and when I beat him, he learns."
Moving on to the offensive attack for Washington, head coach Brandon Staley talked about the 'explosive playmaker' in wide receiver-Terry McLaurin.
"This guy's got real speed, Staley said. "He can run the route-tree from anywhere, outside, or inside. He runs hard. What that does is it puts pressure on you every snap defensively. I think that he's proven himself in the NFL as being an explosive playmaker. He's only going to get better. I'm a huge fan of his game. It's going to be a big challenge for us."
The excitement and readiness for game week was felt across Staley, Allen and Bosa on Monday. A sense that coaches and athletes alike have prepped for this season as best they can in a practice/preseason format, now they are ready to face an opponent at game speed.
"Now, it's time to play somebody else, which is where you want to be," Staley said. "You feel like you've maximized your training camp. I know this morning guys got their rest and now they're ready for an opponent to prepare for. That's an awesome feeling when your guys are excited about game week. Now, it's time to get on to the preparation, and there's a lot of preparation that we need to get going on."
The Chargers will head to the East Coast to kick off their season against the Washington Football Team- September 12th.
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