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Bolts Turn Attention to Jaguars, Staley Provides Update on Mike Williams


The playoffs are here, as the Bolts and Jaguars will meet Saturday night in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs.

Here are five takeaways from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley's Monday media availability:

1. Outlining the week ahead

The Bolts are on a short week ahead of Saturday night's playoff game, and now also face their longest road trip of the season. Kickoff is at 8:15 p.m. (ET) / 5:15 p.m. (PT) in Jacksonville.

Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley confirmed Monday that the team will fly to Jacksonville on Friday, meaning the rest of this week will be altered a bit.

Staley said the Chargers will get into their game-week rhythm beginning with a walk-through followed by usual practice on Wednesday and Thursday.

He explained the upcoming schedule for the Bolts.

"We're going to push the schedule back [Tuesday] and not start meetings until a little bit later. We'll get them a flush-out lift in the late morning," Staley said. "Then, have a walk-through … try to get them out as early as possible so they can get their rest.

"Then, get back to practice on Wednesday, and then have a good Thursday of practice before we travel. The benefit is that we don't have to be in a hurry on Friday. As you know, those East Coast trips, they are long," Staley continued. "When we played Atlanta at 1 o'clock [p.m.], which is really 10 o'clock [a.m.], those are tight turnarounds.

"We are playing in the evening, so, hopefully, we'll be able to not be in any hurry on Friday," Staley added. "Then, be able to wake up on Saturday and have some time to decompress, and then get our minds right to go play."

Kickoff is at 8:15 p.m. (ET) / 5:15 p.m. (PT) in Jacksonville. Staley noted the Chargers will treat things similarly to a Week 16 game against the Colts on Monday Night Football in terms of travel.

"It will be similar. We'll be able to get in Friday evening and not be in a hurry to do anything," Staley said. "Whenever we have a night game, we do the team meeting stuff the day of the game.

"Friday, there won't be anything football-wise, per se, when we get to the hotel," Staley added. "Wake up on Saturday, have some meetings, and then get ready to go play."

The Chargers travel plan for games in the Eastern time zone has certainly worked this season, as the Bolts are 3-0 in such games against Cleveland, Atlanta and Indianapolis.

Browse through live action photos of the Bolts Week 18 matchup against the Denver Broncos

2. An update on Mike Williams

Staley on Monday provided an update on wide receiver Mike Williams, who left Sunday's game in the second quarter with a back injury.

"Mike's MRI confirmed that there is not a fracture nor a muscle injury, he just has a contusion," Staley said. "You will see him back at practice at some point this week."

Staley was later asked if he expects Williams to play against the Jaguars.

"That was the indication given to me this morning," Staley said.

In other injury news, Staley said the linebacker Kenneth Murray, Jr., had a stinger in his neck but "you will see him back at practice this week."

Cornerback Bryce Callahan, who was inactive Sunday, will also practice this week. 

As for right tackle Trey Pipkins III, Staley said he "made it out of the game OK."

Staley was also asked about left tackle Rashawn Slater, who remains on Injured Reserve with a torn biceps.

"He is making progress. Similar to the way we handled Joey [Bosa]'s situation, you guys will get a sense of that when he is getting close to a return to practice," Staley said. "He is making progress. I am proud of the way he has come back and worked hard to give himself a chance to play."

And speaking of Bosa, the outside linebacker played 23 snaps Sunday and had a sack. Staley said the plan was for Bosa to get some work in and the watch from the sideline.

"We felt like he got enough snaps, both run game and pass game, and playing in altitude," Staley said. "We felt like he got a good day's work and was able to take another step toward building for this week."

3. Early eyes on the Jaguars

The Chargers on Sunday spoke about how they feel like they are a different team than the one that took the field in Week 3.

But Staley on Monday said the same is true for the Jaguars.

Jacksonville's Week 3 win got them to 2-1 on the season, but the Jaguars lost seven of their next nine games, including five straight after beating the Bolts.

"They are a different team. They have been through a lot since the game we played them," Staley said. "Their season was kind of a rollercoaster, as well. They were 2-6 at one point, and then really got hot at the end.

"I think our seasons are probably similar that way in that we played our best football at the end. They're a complete football team; offense, defense and special teams," Staley added. "What makes a team a formidable team, those elements are still there, and they've improved. We have a lot of respect for this football team."

The Jaguars ended the season on a five-game win streak and claimed the AFC South win a home win against the Titans. Jacksonville finished 9-8.

The Bolts, meanwhile, won four of five to end the season with a 10-7 record. The Chargers are the fifth seed in the AFC.

Saturday will mark the first playoff meeting between the teams.

4. Winning the turnover battle

The Chargers finished the 2022 season tied for seventh with a plus-5 turnover margin.

The team they tied with? Jacksonville, of course.

The Bolts created 24 takeaways this season, 14 of which were interceptions. But they also turned the ball over 19 times, nine of which were lost fumbles.

The Chargers lost a pair of fumbles Sunday in Denver but evened the overall turnover margin with a fumble recovery and an interception from Sebastian Joseph-Day.

Staley on Monday said his team will be laser-focused on the takeaway battle against the Jaguars.

"We're one of the top [seven] teams in the NFL in takeaway margin. We have done an outstanding job since I have been here of ball security," Staley said. "Last year, again, we were one of the league leaders in fewest amount of fumbles, fewest amount of turnovers.

"I don't think there is a team in the NFL that emphasizes the takeaway margin more than we do," Staley added.

Ironically, the Chargers worst game of the season in terms of takeaway margin was against the Jaguars in Week 3 when the Bolts lost that battle 2-0.

Staley said the holding onto the ball is beyond beneficial, as it usually leads to a high uptick in points scored.

"You just know that if you can secure it, how much more prolific you are going to be offensively," Staley said. "That is certainly something that we're going to be emphasizing every single day moving forward. Our guys have been outstanding all year with it."

5. Shoring up the defense

After four excellent defensive performances in a row, the Bolts hit a bit of a rough patch against the Broncos.

The defense allowed 471 total yards — the second-highest amount of the season — including 205 on the ground.

But Staley said his biggest concern came through the air, where the Bolts allowed three different completions of at least 50 yards.

"We didn't play very well in the secondary," Staley said. "We gave up far too many explosive plays yesterday. Individual breakdowns."

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