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Chargers Weekly Part 1 - Adam Schefter and Cooper Manning
ESPN's Adam Schefter, who will be in Mexico City for the Chargers' Monday night clash against the Chiefs, provided a preview for what he expects to be an electric atmosphere in Mexico City.
Additionally, Schefter mentioned his respect for Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, who won a Super Bowl as a running back for the Broncos back in 1999 when Schefter was on the Broncos beat.
"(Lynn was always) very professional," Schefter said. "Very smart. Always understood what it took to play the game. He's just a consummate pro and always has been. I'm an Anthony Lynn fan."
Schefter was also interviewed on World Diabetes Day, a day that quarterback Philip Rivers and his family have greatly contributed to spreading awareness of, as the disease affects Rivers' son Gunner, Schefter's wife, Sharri, and also Hayre.
"As you know, Chris, when you live with this disease, every day is Diabetes Day," Schefter said. "It's a tough deal, and hopefully the more people are aware of it, talk about it and contribute to (the cause), the (better chance there is) to find a cure or better way of life for Type 1 diabetics like yourself, Gunner Rivers, and my wife Sharri."
Later, Hayre was joined by Cooper Manning, Peyton and Eli Manning's brother, where he mentioned his admiration for Rivers' consecutive starts streak, which will reach 219 Monday night.
"More than anything, it's the accountability," Manning said. "Just week in and week out, just showing up, that's amazing. That's a feat in and of itself."
Additionally, Manning shed some light on his show, "The Manning Hour" on FOX, and how he strives to show fans the lighter side of the game.
"The good folks at FOX give me a lot of rope," Manning said. "We have a lot of fun, we don't take ourselves very seriously at all."
Manning even gave a sneak peek into an upcoming episode with Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, as Manning told Allen that he can be "as mean as he wants."
Chargers Weekly Part 2 - Beat Writers Roundtable, Sam McDowell and Matt Harmon
Part 2 of Chargers Weekly opens with a beat writers roundtable, live from Colorado Springs, featuring Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times and ABC 7's Curt Sandoval, who makes his debut on the roundtable.
Sandoval, who covered the Denver Broncos earlier in his career, noted how the team plays at the highest elevation of any other in the league and said that he has "vivid memories of guys with the oxygen mask in the fourth quarter." He also echoed a prior point Miller made about the psychological benefit that the Chargers players will have having trained in high altitude.
Miller then mentioned how unusual it is for the Chargers to be 4-6 and yet still possess much control over their playoff destiny, just two games behind the division-leading Chiefs with both matchups against them still to play.
"If the Chargers can somehow find a way to win this game Monday," Miller said, "then it gets really interesting in the division, because (then) they're a game behind the Chiefs...Everything's still there."
Sandoval agreed that the game could provide a sizable momentum boost for the Chargers.
"If (the Chargers) come out of Mexico with a win, they go to the bye week and potentially get Derwin James back for the Denver game, confidence could sway quite a bit," Sandoval said.
For Miller, the Chargers' blueprint for success should be to "control the ball, control the clock, and keep (the Chiefs offense) on the sidelines," just as they did when they beat the Packers 26-11 in Week 9.
Sandoval selected Rivers as the Chargers player most likely to positively impact the game, adding that "he has to play well...because it controls everything else (for the Bolts)."
Miller chose Chargers cornerback Michael Davis, citing how it would be a feel-good story for the Mexican-American to post a strong performance in Mexico City on Monday Night Football.
Hayre went with Melvin Gordon as the X factor, explaining that it will be crucial to sustain drives and keep the Chiefs' high-powered offense off the field.
Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star also stopped by to discuss how the 2019 Chiefs offense has differed from Chiefs offenses in years past.
"They haven't settled on a go-to-guy at running back," McDowell said, referencing that running back Damien Williams hasn't been as effective as he was last year, while LeSean McCoy "isn't getting any younger," having been rested for "load management" last week.
Besides mentioning that Kansas City's defense will have a difficult time with Melvin Gordon, who according to McDowell is playing excellent football, on the Chiefs' other side of the ball, the journalist pointed out that the health of right tackle Mitchell Schwartz will be critical, especially with KC going against the likes of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.
Finally, Yahoo Sports' fantasy expert Matt Harmon joined Hayre to not only discuss how he and former NFL long snapper and former Green Beret in the U.S. army, Nate Boyer, jumped out of a plane to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention among veterans, but also the fantasy implications of Chiefs vs. Chargers on Monday night.
"I love this game from a fantasy perspective, but also from an NFL perspective too," Harmon said. "Now, I wouldn't be shocked if it's not as high scoring as people think, because I think the Chargers are really trying to establish their ground game. They're really focusing on trying to grind out the clock, they're trying to establish Melvin Gordon more, and, quite frankly, it's worked over the past couple of weeks."
Playmakers - MJ Acosta
On this week's edition of Playmakers, Hayley Elwood is joined by NFL Network's MJ Acosta, who discussed Latinx visibility and women's empowerment in sports journalism, the Chiefs-Chargers Monday Night Football matchup and more.
Acosta spoke about her diverse journalism background and said that journalists today need to be "multifaceted" and a "chameleon."
Acosta advised media hopefuls to not "block yourself from potential opportunities because you're scared or you think you're not ready or not worthy," because "all of that is just in your head."
"I don't want the women that come next, the next wave of journalists, to feel that way ever," Acosta said. "You belong here, so own it."
Now at NFL Network, Acosta expressed feeling motivated working with "women that (she's) admired for so long."
"They set such a standard that I need to, at minimum, match it," Acosta said. "And that's a tall order, because they're so amazing...and they're so supportive."
On being a woman in sports journalism, Acosta said, "Listen, we're out here! We're maybe small in numbers, but we're strong together."
What helps make this strength possible is women supporting women, Acosta said, including women producers and those behind the assignment desk.
"There are gals holding it down behind the scenes," Acosta said. "Y'all have no idea the stuff that they go through and the support that they provide for us too."
Supportive male colleagues also play an important role in helping to empower women in the field.
"They're feminists too," Acosta said. "They're right there with us, and they're pushing us to be better and helping us to grow in our roles and to make sure that we have the same opportunities...that we need to succeed."
Next, Acosta spoke about the responsibility she feels being a visible Latina in sports journalism.
"More women are taking this new role in sports and really owning it and showing that we can go toe-to-toe," Acosta said. "Not just as a broadcaster, but women athletes are kicking butt across the board. To be able to bring that, and for other Latinas to reach out to me and say, 'Oh my god, I haven't seen someone who looks like me, who speaks my language, who understands how I grew up and how I was watching sports,' it means a lot."
Acosta said that she is "constantly inspired" by "young women reaching out to (her) on social media who are still in high school."
"They have the foresight and the wherewithal to know and be (gutsy) enough to say, 'This is what I want and I know it now even though I'm 15, 16 years old,'" Acosta said.
Acosta, who identifies as Afro-Caribbean, emphasized the importance of understanding and embracing the diversity of the Latinx population.
"We're out here," Acosta said, "and we're representing all Latinos that come in all shades, all shapes, all sizes, that speak different dialects, have different accents, that look different, and that have different backgrounds."
Finally, the reporter turned her attention to Monday Night Football's Chiefs-Chargers matchup, which she will be covering live.
Acosta said she expects the game to be competitive, especially given the wide-open nature of the AFC West after the Chiefs' loss last Sunday to the Titans.
"It's gonna be a battle," Acosta said. "I love these divisional games, because it's so intense. It's so hardcore, especially when the divide is so minimal...I love that it's an international crowd. It adds another layer...I think this is going to come down to one of those late fourth-quarter battles, for sure."
The veteran journalist said that Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes belongs in the same breath as fellow dual-threat star QBs Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson.
"(Mahomes) can do some ridiculous acrobatic tricks," Acosta added. "Who are you? What are you? You're not human...It's more about containing the pieces around him."
She predicted that the turnover battle will play a key role in deciding the game and said she expects the atmosphere at Estadio Azteca to be "so hype."