Here's a breakdown of the news from the Chargers' 10th week of the season:
Monday: Building a tough team
Justin Herbert continued to rewrite the history books as a young NFL quarterback for the Chargers with another impressive feat during the team's Week 9 matchup. Herbert needed 25 completions to reach 600 for his career and become the first quarterback in NFL history to reach 600 completions in 25 starts of a career. On the 23rd start of his career Hebert did that and more, completing 32 of 38 passes for 356 yards with three total touchdowns.
On Monday, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley reflected on Herbert's bounce back performance and talked about how the Bolts offensive scheme is able to capitalize off of his special talents.
"What we're trying to do is take full advantage of his gifts," Staley said. "And I think when you can access places on the field that some can't, you have to do that, you have to explore that. It opens up so much more for your offense and it really changes the way defenses play you and assess you. A strength of Justin's is his arm and accuracy in the deep part of the field. A strength of [WR] Mike Williams is his ability to judge and track it in the deep part of the field. Sometimes, a one-on-one down the field — even if he's not wide open, but if it's a one on one down the field — we feel like that is an advantage situation."
"We're a tough team," James said. "Being able to come back on the road against a tough team that just came off a big win against Detroit, I feel like it was a big win for us. We have a little momentum going into these next couple games. I feel like, as a team, we're playing complementary football. When the defense needed the offense to step up, they stepped up. When the offense needed us to get a stop, we got a stop."
"It's a challenge, like it is every week. They have a good running offense, just like every week. If we go out there and we stop the run and make them be one dimensional — meaning, make them have to ball — we'll be in a good situation. They have a good team. We have to go out there and do our job. We have to stop the run and get after them in all phases."
Leading into Tuesday, two members of the Chargers made appearances on NFL Network. Brandon Staley joined the crew of ‘Good Morning Football’ to talk about his path to becoming a head coach in the NFL, his battle with cancer and more. Later in the day, Herbert joined 'NFL Now' to talk with Andrew Siciliano about the Bolts' win over the Eagles and his famous victory brisket.
Wednesday: Jones and Joseph
Wednesday morning started off with Justin Herbert being named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his Week 9 performance against the Eagles.
But then, it was time to turn the page to Minnesota.
When talking about containing the Vikings offense, Chargers defensive lineman Justin Jones spoke on the importance of having a veteran player like Linval Joseph not only to the team but to developing his game as well.
"He's a beast," Jones said. "He's a mountain of a man, just a spectacle. He's a great guy with a great personality, a funny guy. He's freakishly strong and freakishly fast, and he's just great to be around, great to play with. I'm blessed to even have the opportunity to play next to him. I've been blessed to play with guys like that, starting with [former Chargers DT] Brandon Mebane and now Linval Joseph. It's great."
Staley gave high praise to the Minnesota's wide receiver group of Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson on Wednesday. Staley talked about what makes the Vikings' duo elite route runners.
"These guys are really, really good," Staley said. "[Thielen's] been doing it for a long time. He's still doing it really at a high level. Now, he has taken this young guy under his wing. [Vikings WR] Justin [Jefferson] is an outstanding player. They can move wherever in the formation. They can run any route. That's the thing about both of these guys, they are legit inside-outside route tree guys. They both can run — they are both 4.4 [40-yard-dash]. They're a very difficult tandem to deal with and their passing game is reflective of that."
Thursday: Vikings on deck
Eight games into his NFL career, rookie left tackle Rashawn Slater talked about how he's settling in to the NFL speed. When talking about blocking for Justin Herbert, Slater said he wouldn't want to have anyone else to play alongside and what he's realized since playing in the NFL.
"I definitely feel like I've just gotten more comfortable with the speed of the game and what goes into preparing each week," Slater said. "I've realized that every week is different in the NFL. You never really go about defenses the exact same way, so a lot of learning since then. I feel good."
Another rookie on the Bolts roster that has shined this season is wide receiver Joshua Palmer. Take a look at Chargers’ team reporter Hayley Elwood’s conversation with Palmer about his first NFL touchdown, his love for Star Wars and more.
Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill talked about how their respective groups are getting ready to face a Vikings team that has played in three overtime games this season. Despite their 3-5 record, the message was clear this week that the Vikings are a better team than their record shows with all five losses being one score games.
Lombardi called the linebacker tandem of Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks one of the best in the business, noting their 'ability to communicate with each other and recognize protections' as reasons for being so effective together.
"They're so well-coached," Lombardi said. "I think that [Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer] does such a good job, and his staff does such a good job. One of the challenges is that if they've seen you do something before, they're going to have a counter to it. It's something that we've had a lot of experience with over the years. I don't think that you ever have the perfect plan, but part of it is trying to stay out of third down as much as you can."
However, on Friday the Vikings ruled Barr out for Sunday's game after not practicing all week due to a knee injury that he's been nursing all season.
Friday: Murray and Samuel Jr. back
Throughout the week, Staley and Hill talked about getting second year linebacker Kenneth Murray back in the lineup after missing five games with an ankle injury. Murray returned to practice this week and Staley explained the plans to develop Murray into a 'hybrid' linebacker, lining up as an inside linebacker and on as an edge rusher.
On Friday, Staley said that Murray will return to the active roster.
Rookie corner Asante Samuel Jr. will also return to the gridiron against the Vikings after clearing concussion protocol. Staley talked about what it means to have Samuel Jr. back in the secondary group.
"We're really proud of him," Staley said. "We wanted to make sure that we take our time with situations like that. He bounced back well and got his rest. He really was ready to practice this week. We always want to make sure we're careful in those situations, but he practiced well and he's in a good headspace. We're excited to see him compete on Sunday."
Earlier in the week, linebacker Drue Tranquill was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 List and Staley said he 'does not think that [Tranquill] will play in the game this weekend' due to COVID protocols.
In terms of the game, Herbert explained the task ahead when it comes to finding success against the Vikings defense.
"They have some really talented guys on that side of the ball and they make plays," he said. "They have a really good front seven. What they're able to do with disguises, they make everything look the same. Like you said, they've been historically good over the past decade or so. They've been able to pick that up. It's a very tough third down team. You have to do a good job of having a preparation and having a protection plan all week so that, when you go in there on Sunday, you have any chance to beat them."
Videos of the Week
This week also brought a collection of videos to Chargers fans, take a look at the top videos released throughout the week.
Takeout with Derwin James and Chris Harris Jr.:
Episode two of Takeout aired this week. This episode features Chris Harris Jr. and Derwin James as they sit down with host Chase Daniel to talk about team superlatives, their favorite coach Staley phrases and more.
Running for History: Episode 2 | The Trade:
The second episode of the six part narrative podcast aired this week with this episode focusing on the blockbuster trade that would eventually lead Ladainian Tomlinson to the Chargers. Hear how LT began to rise up draft boards leading up to the NFL Draft and who broke the news that he would likely get drafted by the Chargers.
Mic'd Up: Justin Jones vs. Philadelphia Eagles
This edition of Mic'd up features defensive lineman Justin Jones. Relive the Chargers Week 9, 27-24 win in Philadelphia through the lens of Jones.
Film Room: Breaking down Keenan Allen and Justin Jefferson's route running
Take a look at the Week 10 edition of Film Room as Daniel Jeremiah and Chris Hayre breakdown two big name wide receivers to watch in the Chargers vs. Vikings game. See what makes the Chargers' Keenan Allen and the Vikings' Justin Jefferson so difficult to defend in the latest episode of Film Room
Bolt Fam Profile: Elizabeth Hernandez
This edition of Bolt Fam Profile focuses on season ticket holder Elizabeth Hernandez. Take a look at her gameday routine, joining up with people at the 'Diehard Bolt Club' tailgate and what being a Chargers fan means to her.
Tweets of the Week
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