Almost a quarter of the way into the NFL season, the Chargers enter Week 5 with a record of 2-2 following their win over the Texans
With another road game on the horizon, the Bolts prepare to take on the Browns.
Here's a breakdown of news from the Chargers fifth week of the season:
Monday: PFF highlights top players; Staley talks OLB's in Week 4
The Chargers enjoyed their second Victory Monday of the season following their road win in Houston.
On Monday morning, Pro Football Focus released their grades from the Week 4 matchup, highlighting a couple of Bolts players who stood out, including running back Austin Ekeler, safety Derwin James, Jr. and more.
One particular stand out was 2021 sixth-round rookie tackle Jamaree Salyer, who made his first start at left tackle in place of Rashawn Slater, who is out with a biceps injury.
PFF wrote about Salyer:
Chargers rookie tackle Jamaree Salyer kept a completely clean slate in pass protection on first review and will likely end up with an 80.0-plus pass-blocking grade.
Salyer also finished with a 90.4 pass blocking grade according to PFF, the highest on the team, and did not allow a pressure or a sack.
The rookie offensive lineman spoke on Monday evaluating his play in Week 4 and hopes that with more reps, he can continue to improve at that position.
"I kind of knew that I played a decent game, but just kind of getting back into the swing of things. There are things I have to fix. Things that are just different," Salyer said. "Obviously, I didn't get a lot of reps in practice at left tackle, so it just means I kind of had to learn on the fly and some of those mistakes kind of showed up in the game."
"I just want to keep harping and fixing on those and keep sharpening the axe and becoming the best player I can be," Salyer added.
Given the injuries at key positions, Salyer was one of many players who stepped up in the win on Sunday. As outside linebacker Joey Bosa remains out with a groin injury, Sunday was the first full game where we got to see how the Chargers would fill the gap left by Bosa.
The Bolts would finish the game with four sacks and six tackles for loss, as the defensive line kept the heat on Houston. Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley spoke Monday about his assessment of the Bolts defensive line.
"I thought that our edge players, all four of them, played at a high level. I thought that those three, specifically, all did their jobs well and were effective in their roles," Staley said. "I thought that that mixture allowed us to keep fresh bodies, to be able to rush at the end. They were very good in their run defense, setting edges, and in their coverage responsibilities."
"I felt like we were able to keep more fresh bodies in there," Staley added.
Tuesday: Where the Chargers stand after four games
Almost a quarter of the way through the season, Senior Writer Eric Smith looked back at the first four weeks of the season and where the team stands.
Perhaps the biggest headline for the Chargers early on has been injuries.
Rashawn Slater might be out the rest of the season, Joey Bosa is going to miss a significant amount of time, Keenan Allen has played just 22 offensive snaps and Jalen Guyton won't play again this year.
Yet the Bolts have weathered that storm with contributions up and down the roster.
Quarterback Justin Herbert spoke about the adversity the team has faced in the young season, adding that the team has gotten some contributions from players who have stepped up amid the slew of injuries.
"I think we've dealt with a lot of adversity, and I thought we handled that pretty well," said Herbert. "It's a long season. To lose a couple guys here and there and be able to replace them and have some guys that maybe weren't expecting to play a ton make some huge plays in some big-time games, that's great to see and we'll keep doing that.
"We're going to keep getting those guys ready," Herbert added, "whoever's out there we're going to go play."
To read Smith's full breakdown of the Chargers so far, click here.
Wednesday: Preparing to hit the road again
For the second straight season, the Chargers are preparing for the Browns in Week 5.
A high scoring game that saw the Bolts come away with a 47-42 win at home, Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley is not worried about last year and more focused on the talent on the other side this time around.
"We'll see how it goes," Staley said. "They have a good football team. It's a road game, and it's going to be a challenging environment. We're going to be ready to play."
Staley, who grew up in Perry, Ohio, which sits about 35 miles from the Browns home stadium, will be making the visit to Ohio for the first time as a head coach. While it will be a new experience for the second-year head coach, he knows that his team will have to prepare for a tough environment.
"I went to games at the old stadium. I have not seen a [Browns] game live at the new stadium," Staley said. "I know that it's right on the lake and that it is a great venue, for sure.
"With their franchise, in the last couple of years, they've really improved. Those fans are going to come alive when they have a team to root for," Staley added. "Right now, they have a team that is a quality team. They're improving. They're one of the top teams in the AFC. It's going to be an intense environment, for sure."
On the injury front, Staley added Wednesday that he was "encouraged" about Chargers tight end Donald Parham, Jr.'s status for Week 5. If active, Parham, who suffered a hamstring injury during training camp on Aug. 6, will be making his first appearance this season.
The 6-foot-8 tight end has not played in a game since last December against the Chiefs. He suffered a head injury in that game and had to be hospitalized.
The road back for Parham has been long, as he has had to preparing himself in many ways to get ready to play again.
"It all started mentally," Parham said. "Making sure that I'm mentally tough enough to continue to play after what happened last year. Main thing was just building myself up, making sure I'm in the right frame of mind.
"The physical stuff is another problem for me. It was another day in the office kind of thing," Parham added.
Wide receiver Keenan Allen did not practice on Wednesday, as Staley labeled him still as "day-to-day."
On the first injury report of the week, wide receiver Joshua Palmer (ankle), linebacker Kyle Van Noy (back) and kicker Dustin Hopkins (Right Quadricep) were all listed as limited in practice.
Also on Wednesday, Smith released his weekly mailbag, where he looked at how the Chargers can limit the Browns, the depth at outside linebacker and more.
In transactional news, the Chargers announced they signed wide receiver Keelan Doss to the practice squad.
Thursday: What the Bolts have in front of them
In both of the games the Chargers have won this season, the third quarter has been one that allows the opponents to slowly creep back into the games.
Chargers Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi spoke on Thursday about this, but he does not think it's a common thread. Still, it is something that the team is emphasizing, to avoid it from continuing to happen as the season progresses.
"I don't think there is a common thread per se, but I bet you by Week 9, we're going to say things have averaged out. That's what you hope," Lombardi said. "It's something we're emphasizing, that, 'Hey, we have to come out of the half a little more ready to go.' It's something we certainly have recognized as being an issue and we're working to fix it."
This week's opponent, the Browns, is one that the Chargers know can be dangerous if they get rolling. Even after last year's matchup, Lombardi knows Cleveland's edge rushers and defense as a whole will be a challenge.
"I think it starts with their defensive ends," Lombardi said. "They are a significant problem."
"They are really game wreckers, both of them. They are fast at linebacker. They really run to the ball, hard to catch if you're trying to catch them, getting to the second level, aggressive at corner, physical safeties," Lombardi added. "I think it's a team that's got good team speed, great pass rushers and they're a team that can create chaos for you. They are a good squad."
On the defensive side, they are well aware of the trouble the Browns run game can cause.
Chargers defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill understands that the Browns running backs are dangerous if they bounce it outside, so they will have to be prepared to avoid that from happening.
"We have to make sure that we do a good job from the front end to the linebackers stacked back behind him, and then make sure that we keep a triangle on the ball on the back end," Hill said. "Some of those balls that they do pop, we're hoping that we can get it down for eight yards and not let it be a home run."
The second level will be crucial on Sunday, as both linebackers Drue Tranquill and Kenneth Murray, Jr., will continue to be big parts of the defense. Hill spoke about the pair of linebackers, as they have impressed him early in this season with their play.
"Drue has been steady," Hill said. "Every practice, I feel like he's gaining more and more confidence, along with Kenneth Murray. I think that the combination of having both of them out there for this amount of time — there have been spurts where you have Drue at one point, Kenneth at one — but they've been healthy."
"They're playing fast," Hill later added. "They're playing lights out. They're making all of the adjustments fast and quick, and that's what you want those guys behind the ball to do."
The only change to the injury report on Thursday was linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who practiced in full. Tight end Gerald Everett was added to the injury report with a hamstring and was limited.
Members of the Browns also talked about the Chargers and the challenges they present ahead of their Week 4 matchup. Check out what Cleveland said about the Bolts.
Check out the best photos of the Chargers Wednesday practice at Hoag Performance Center
Friday: Chargers final tune-up
The Chargers had an opportunity to fine tune their preparation for Cleveland, as they took the field for their final practice of the week on Friday.
They got a little more clarity on Browns Defensive End Myles Garrett's status for Sunday, as he was taken off Cleveland's injury report and will play. Fellow edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney was listed as questionable. Garrett is one of the best in the league at his position, and Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley says regardless of his or Clowney's status, the team prepared the week as if he was going to play regardless.
"We were expecting both to play. You kind of have to go into the game that way, expecting that," Staley said. "Then, if it changes, you change. We're going to be prepared for both guys to play. We have evidence of who their backups are, too."
On the Chargers injury front, wide receiver Keenan Allen was listed as "OUT" for Sunday's game against the Browns. Both wide receiver Joshua Palmer and kicker Dustin Hopkins were listed as questionable.
During the week, the Chargers added kicker Taylor Bertolet to the practice squad in case Hopkins is unable to go. Staley says that decision will be made on game day.
"He's questionable. It just popped up at the beginning of the week. He's been out here. He did some kicking today," Staley added. "We'll see how it feels before gameday. It will be a game-time decision. He did some kicking today. He went through his routine in the morning.
"It's still a little tight, but we're going to see tomorrow, and then on gameday," Staley added.
As for Palmer, Staley noted that while he is optimistic
"He was at practice all week. He got the reps and stuff," Staley said. "What we were trying to do is work that soreness out, get him enough reps to work some soreness out. We'll work him out around game time and make sure that he's safe to play."
Quarterback Justin Herbert threw every day and fully participated in every practice this week for the first time since he suffered his injury in Week 2. Herbert talked about fully practicing this week and his level of comfort as the weeks progress.
"It's awfully tough when I don't get to throw. I love throwing the ball more than anyone," Herbert said. "Just not being out there throwing all the time is definitely something that I've had to adjust to.
"I'm getting more comfortable, feeling better and just continuing to get my treatment and my rehab so that I feel my best on Sunday," Herbert said.
Prior to Friday's practice, Smith talked with Mary Kay Cabot, who covers the Browns for The Plain Dealer, to preview Sunday's game.
Also on Friday, Smith released his Final Thoughts ahead of the game against Cleveland, leading with Cleveland run game, second half slow starts and more.
Get an inside look at Austin Ekeler getting slimed by his teammates after winning the Week 4 Nickelodeon NFL Slimetime NVP award.
Odds and Ends
All In: Episode 4 | Chosen
The fourth episode of 'All In' titled 'Chosen' follows second-year cornerback Asante Samuel, Jr.'s journey to the NFL, his Week 1 matchup with Davante Adams an more.
Videos of the Week
Mic'd Up | Asante Samuel, Jr. and Joshua Palmer
Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel, Jr. were mic'd up during the Week 4 matchup vs the Houston Texans.
Homecoming | Asante Samuel, Jr.
In this edition of Homecoming, Asante Samuel, Jr. returns to his alma mater, St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Joined by Hayley Elwood, they tour the school, talk about the winning history the football program built and the lessons he learned on adversity and work ethic.
Playmakers Podcast | Know Your Opponent with Mary Kay Cabot
The Browns beat writer for Browns.com joins Hayley Elwood on the latest edition of Playmakers podcast to preview the Chargers Week 5 opponent, the Browns and what to expect ahead of Sunday.
Chargers Weekly | A Clash in Cleveland Against Run-Heavy Browns
Matt "Money" Smith and Chris Hayre recap the Bolts Week 4 win over Houston and look ahead at the key players in this Sunday's matchups against the Browns.
Tweets of the Week
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