Take a look at key moments from Wednesday's press conferences with Brandon Staley, Justin Herbert, and Kyzir White as the Bolts prepare to host the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday's home opener.
Focus is on Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, who has Brandon Staley's 'attention'
In the Cowboys' Week 1 matchup against Tampa Bay, Dallas put their passing attack on full display by throwing the ball 58 times. Although Cowboy's running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for just 33 yards on 11 carries, Chargers' head coach Brandon Staley explained why his focus is still on the Cowboy's lead back.
"He has my full attention," Staley said. "I have full respect for this back. My eyes tell me that this guy is a top two-to-five back in this league. Playing against him last year, what was unique is I could hear everything last year. There was no crowd, so I could hear the sound of every tackle. I remember going home and watching the TV copy with my wife. It was late, but she stayed up and we watched it. You could hear it; you could hear the pads popping. He's a physical guy. I have full respect for him and what he's accomplished in this league. I still think he's a premium back."
Staley went on to explain the type of quarterback he believes Dak Prescott is for the Cowboys and the excitement the Bolts have to face a quarterback of that caliber.
"This guy has been a proven guy for a long time," he said. "Since he's played for the Cowboys, their record speaks for itself with him as the quarterback — and their production. Going back to last year, they were number one in the NFL in total offense the year before I was with the Rams. Then, they were leading the NFL in offense through four or five weeks, and then he got hurt. Then, he lit it up Week 1 against the defensive Super Bowl champions, against a defense that's really, really good. His track record speaks for itself. He's a guy that's very worthy of that contract. He's an elite competitor. We're excited to be able to face him this week."
From one quarterback to another, Justin Herbert echoed what Staley said about Prescott.
"I think he's really smart," Herbert said. "He's able to make all the places athletic. His arm strength is off the charts. He's got all the tools and weapons, especially when you put him with some pretty good running backs and some receivers. He's going to be able to do some impressive things."
Linebacker Kyzir White also talked about the smarts of Prescott and what he thinks the defense has to do in order to slow down Elliott.
"I think Ezekiel Elliott is one of the best running backs in the game," White said. "He runs hard, he usually always gets positive yards on contact, so you know we gotta wrap up, run our feet and all rally to the ball."
White was pleased with the run defense against Washington in Week 1 and said he is 'excited for the challenge' on Sunday, whether it be a heavy run or pass attack.
Improvements heading into week 2
One of last Sunday's biggest plays in Washington came from White. White was able to force a fumble and give the ball back to Herbert and co. inside the five-yard line. During Monday's press conference, White talked about making that big play for the team and how he can improve his game. As White's role on the defense continues to evolve, he has the mind-set of getting '1% better each day.'
White talked about a specific play from Week 1 where he can improve on and learn from heading into Week 2.
"Last game for example, they threw a checkdown to [RB Antonio] Gibson, I made good contact on him, but I stopped my feet and he got up out of there," he said. "So, you know limit the missed tackles and get my hands on more balls. I know I had two forced fumbles last game but just trying to impact the game better, get better at my pass rush, things like that."
Herbert also talked about ways he feels he can improve as the season progresses, No. 10 has put his focus on getting the job done on the road this season.
"I think going on the road and having our road record be better than it was last year," he said. "Being a road team that's able to go and put up a good fight. Being able to take a win like that on Sunday, especially on the road, is definitely tough for us."
For Staley, he feels his team is going to grow each week.
"I think that you make a big jump every week," he said. "I really do, because you learned so much. Out there on the walk-through, we were just so much better than we were on Sunday because we just had so much to learn from."
Fans back in the stands for the first time at SoFi
Sunday marks a big day for Bolts fans and players alike. Sunday's home opener will be the first-time fans get to witness a regular season game in the brand new SoFi Stadium. White talked about what he expects the atmosphere to be like on gameday.
"I feel like it's gonna be a crazy environment," White said. "I was kind of shocked when we played the Rams in the preseason game the energy was real good so I can only imagine what it's gonna be like for a regular season game against a good opponent in the Cowboys."
When Herbert made his debut at SoFi Stadium last season in Week 2, he did so in front of empty chairs. For the second year QB, fans at home gamedays are a huge part of football that he's missed.
"[I'm expecting] a lot of excitement," Herbert said. "It's been a lot of fun being able to play at that place and last year was awesome but to not have fans and kind of go through that was a little weird, some aspects you miss about football. So having fans there this Sunday, I think it will definitely be a cool experience."
Check out the best photos from Bolts Wednesday practice at Hoag Performance Center.
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