Below are three takeaways from Thursday's press conferences with Jared Cook, Renaldo Hill and Joe Lombardi:
Stopping the Eagles' run game
The Eagles offense features a quarterback in Jalen Hurts who leads the team in both passing and rushing yards on the season. Last week, Hurts led the team to a commanding 44-6 win over the Detroit Lions. On Thursday, Chargers defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill talked about what he saw from the Eagles' rush attack in Week 8 (rushing for 236 yards) and how the Chargers can stop them from another big day.
"They definitely made a point that, 'Hey, we are going to run this football,'" Hill said. "Could that be the attack moving forward? I'm not sure, we just gotta be prepared. Obviously, we are going to prepare for those runs we saw from the Lions game…they've shown that they can be explosive, they got some big guys up front, some experienced guys up front. When you have both the quarterback element as well as the [running] back included in that it makes it tough. We have to cover all of those bases in order for us to be solid against the run this week."
A key piece of improving the Bolts run defense last week was getting defensive lineman Justin Jones back in the lineup. Hill talked about the difference maker Jones is when he's on the gridiron on gamedays.
"His presence was felt," Hill said. "It was felt early, I know he talked about once he got in there, he had to kind of feel his way around a little bit. He said after maybe a series or two he felt good and was ready to roll…I think it allowed other guys to be fresh and he's a good communicator on the inside with the rest of those guys, so we definitely felt his presence."
Getting back in the win column
Veteran tight end Jared Cook has learned a thing or two about the ups and downs of the NFL throughout his 13 year career. Cook spoke on Thursday about how the Bolts are keeping their energy up in order to accomplish the goals the team set before the season started.
"We are all confident," Cook said. "All our heads are up. We just continue to go to work, we know that we still have things to prove in this league to get to where we want to get, to accomplish the goals that we set out to accomplish in the preseason and at the beginning of the year. We are continuing to try to strive to complete those goals."
Cook explained the team felt they should have walked away with a win against the Patriots on Sunday and how that loss is fueling the team's mindset heading into Philadelphia.
"Everybody's morale is up," he said. "Everybody knows the challenge that we have ahead. We know that we've played some tough football and some tough teams. So just continue to grind, it's a long season so you've got to make it the best you can."
Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi talked about how the team can overcome some of the frustrations that come with a loss.
"It's just weathering the storm a little bit," Lombardi said. "But keep working hard and preparing and maybe trying to find those patterns that you can fix and knowing that some other things can be random. Just be ready to get out there and work every day and once it gets going, it will get going."
Looking at the cornerback rotation
Cornerbacks Michael Davis and Asante Samuel Jr. both left Sunday's game against the Patriots with injuries and are still nursing those injuries late into this week. After both corners did not participate in Wednesday's and Thursday's practices, Hill talked about having full confidence in the rest of the cornerback room if those two are unable to play this weekend in Philadelphia.
"The guys that we have had in the practices, we've asked them to be ready to step up at any time," Hill said. "A lot of those guys we were talking about getting in the rotation anyway, so it just adds a little bit more urgency to our group that, 'Hey, you're going to be ready to roll,' and if they are out there, we don't expect anything different. Those guys prepare hard and [secondary] coach [Derrick] Ansley and [secondary assistant] coach [Tom] Donatell do a good job of getting those guys prepared."
No matter which corners are available on Sunday, Hill talked about the elite passing ability of Hurts and how they need to be ready for the air attack as well.
"When he's either in the pocket or out of the pocket it's a clean throw," Hill said. "I mean it's fluid with his arm, his deep balls are really good. He can put it on the line, and he gets there fast…he has some weapons on the outside and he can get the ball to any of those guys whether he's in the pocket or outside. It's going to be a tough game plan for this guy, he is talented, he's doing a good job and it's just showing that he's on the incline just after last week's performance."
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