The Chargers began the week preparing for Tyrod Taylor. One of the game's top dual-threat quarterbacks, Taylor has already completed 163-of-254 attempts (64.2-percent) for 10 TDs and just three interceptions for a 91.4 passer rating. He's also carried the ball 53 times for 237 yards and another pair of scores.
They had tons of game film on Taylor over the years, including first-hand knowledge from Head Coach Anthony Lynn, who spent the past few seasons coaching the quarterback.
Then their plans completely changed Wednesday morning when Buffalo Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott announced he was making a switch under center, turning to rookie Nathan Peterman. Instead of facing a former Pro Bowler who started all 38 games for the Bills since joining Buffalo in 2015, the team will now go up against this year's 171st overall pick in the fifth round who has 10 career professional passing attempts.
"Honestly, it's a little more challenging to prepare against guys like this because you don't really know their tendencies," admitted safety Adrian Phillips, a noted film-junkie. "You don't really know what they do. So you have to really get back to the basics. You feel out the game once those first couple drives start. Then we'll get what the flow is and what type of quarterback he is."
"This week of prep has been a little bit different with the change in quarterbacks," added Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley. "But the way we're going about it, is we're making sure we are prepared for both, just like any week. You always have to know the first guy and the second guy. I guess what's unique this week is really completely different styles. So it puts a strain on us that way a little bit, but it's been going good thus far."
Overall, the Bolts aren't completely unaware of what Peterman brings to the table. After all, they are only a few months removed from scouting him extensively for the 2017 NFL Draft.
"What stood out to me was his accuracy," recalled Head Coach Anthony Lynn. "His ability to stand in the pocket and throw the ball accurately. His anticipation (was impressive)."
However, the team insists they put little stock in what he did while at Pitt. Instead, they've focused on his tape from the preseason as well as last week's cameo appearance against the New Orleans Saints.
So, what have the Chargers seen on film?
"What's surprising (is) he can move the ball with his feet," said safety Jahleel Addae. "He's not just a standstill, stand back there quarterback. He can move the ball with his feet. He's very accurate. You saw last week in the game, he came in for that drive and led them down for some points... So he has some good upside. Obviously they believe in him that he can get the job done. We'll see what he has to bring on Sunday."
However, just because the Bills announced Peterman will start doesn't mean the Bolts aren't preparing for Taylor as well.
"We're still looking at it like, if (Taylor) suits up, we have to be ready for him," Lynn said. "Because if he comes in in the second half — if the other guy struggles, he comes in — we've got to be ready. He can present a lot of problems for a defense."