Below are three takeaways from Thursday's pressers with head coach Brandon Staley, Asante Samuel Jr., and Corey Linsley.
L.A. to face 'speed' and 'strength' of Vegas
A key matchup in Monday night's game will be the quarterback battle between Justin Herbert and Derek Carr. The Raiders have thrown for an NFL best 379.7 net passing yards per game with Bolts throwing for 307.3 net passing yards/game (fourth in the NFL). The two QBs haven't just been lights out on first down, they hold the highest passing grade on third and fourth downs according to Pro Football Focus as well, both rated at a 90.3.
But along with Carr, head coach Brandon Staley talked about what he sees in the offensive group for Las Vegas.
"What you're seeing is a complete football team out there," Staley said "I think you start with [Raiders QB] Derek [Carr] and how well he is playing. He was the AFC Offensive Player of the Month. He's operating at an extremely high level. You can see that he truly is an extension of the head coach. The way they're able to operate, a lot of it is because of how sharp Derek is. They've really surrounded him with a complete offense. I think that they have weapons in all areas — wideouts, runners, tight ends."
The Raiders also pack a punch on the defensive side of the ball with a solid group of defensive linemen and some familiar faces including former Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman and cornerback Casey Hayward Jr. to name a couple.
Corey Linsley talked about what he's looking when preparing for the Raiders.
"They're very talented," Linsley said. "They got some speed guys on the edge, they have powerful strength, big dudes in the middle. They play hard they play fast, they're not a very complicated system but they do what they do well. We're going to have to prepare for them just like we prepare for everybody else. Everybody's good in the NFL, and they're up there. They're 3-0 for a reason, it'll be a challenge for us just like it is every week, and we have to bring it."
Chargers' rookie corner Asante Samuel Jr. who has already faced some of the league's elite receiving groups talked about the receiving corps for the silver and black.
"They're a great group," Samuel Jr. said. They have great receivers. [WR] Henry Ruggs III, [WR] Bryan Edwards, [WR Hunter] Renfrow. They have a lot of great guys and a great quarterback in Derek Carr. They have a great receiving core, and we just have to go out there and compete."
The Chargers got good news on defense as Staley explained he's optimistic about getting DL Justin Jones and CB Chris Harris Jr. back from their respective injuries. Both Jones and Harris practiced with the team on Thursday, listed as limited participants on the Bolts' Thursday injury report.
Samuel Jr. enters October with accolades
In just three games, Asante Samuel Jr. has two interceptions, 11 tackles, four passes defensed, and in 103 coverage snaps, the rookie corner hasn't allowed a single TD.
The rookie's hot start on the field led him to win back-to-back Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Week honors in Weeks 2 and 3.
Additionally, Samuel Jr. was named the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Month for September.
The 21-year-old said rookie talked about how he's been able to get off to such a hot start and how the talent on the Chargers offense has helped him.
"It started off in training camp, going against [WR] Mike Williams, [WR] Keenan Allen, [WR] Jalen Guyton, that prepared me for the season," Samuel Jr. said. "Going against those great guys is definitely competition, and I'm a competitor. I want to compete every week. I'm just trying to excel my game and get better each week."
Staley gave high praise to the rookie's performance this season, noting his ability to go 'nose-to-nose' with anyone he faces.
"That interception is what won him [NFL Defensive] Rookie of the Month," Staley said. "Had he not had the interception, he's not Rookie of the Month. The good thing about Asante is he has a lot of self-awareness," Staley said. "He knows where he needs to go with his game. Him winning [Defensive] Rookie of the Month just shows you his capacity. He's been able to go nose-to-nose with a lot of really good opponents, with a lot of really good receivers the first three weeks."
Communication has been key for offensive line & Herbert
The revamped Chargers offensive line was a big topic heading into this season, with the team acquiring new additions through free agency and adding Rashawn Slater in the draft.
Linsley talked Thursday about the group's development and communication as they head into Week 4.
"The communication has been awesome," Linsley said. "I feel like [Herbert's] such a great dude that puts the team first, very unselfish person in general. That type of quarterback has been great for us o-linemen and again we gotta continue to improve and get better with each week."
When it's time to make key adjustments and decisions during games, Linsley talked about the characteristics that Herbert possesses that allow them to make changes at ease.
"Because he's such a calm levelheaded dude and because he works so hard and he takes care of his business during the week, the adjustments that we have to make whether it's in the game or during the week we are able to make them…I feel like that helps out our offensive operation as a whole."
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