Here's what offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill had to say ahead of Week 17.
Joe Lombardi on Denver's No. 1 scoring defense
"I think they have good players and are well-coached. That's the simple explanation. They do a good job of limiting explosive plays. They make you be patient and drive on them. Like I said, they force team's into a lot of third downs. I didn't realize it until this, I think we were 50 percent [on third down] the last time we played them, which would usually be a good number, but if you hit third downs over and over again, you're going to have to punt if you're only at 50 percent. It's that, 'bend but don't break.' They have really good DBs. They play the pass really well. There's just a number of factors that make them a tough challenge."
Renaldo Hill on the 'next step' for the Bolts defense
"We talk about takeaway margin all of the time. How consistent can we be, as far as getting the ball back — getting the ball back and getting scoring opportunities for our offense? We did a good job early in the season of making sure that we got the ball off of the guys, but as far as getting it to our offense, I think that we have to make that something, moving forward, that if we get those opportunities, that we have to make it happen. If the ball is lying on the ground, we have to have an urgency to get it. If the ball is thrown in our direction, we have to make sure that we're taking it away from the offense because the way the league is going now, a lot of these quarterbacks feel comfortable just throwing it up in the secondary, assuming that they're going to get a pass interference. Creating takeaways, I think that's the biggest way to really help us moving forward in this defense."
Lombardi on QB Justin Herbert closing in on the franchise record for single-season touchdown passes
"He's just such a special talent and player. I think, hopefully with two games left, that's a record that falls for him, in his favor. I'm sure regardless of who's coaching here, that guy is going to set a lot of records over the course of his career. I'm happy to be a part of it, but the credit belongs to the guys on the field. Justin would say, 'Hey, it's the guys around me that are helping me,' but he's a special talent, for sure. He's going to be successful regardless of who's standing at this podium."
Hill on the return of CB Asante Samuel Jr.
"You feel really confident when he's out there, whether that's to the field, if the ball is in the middle of the field, just knowing that you have that guy who has been a stable force out there at the cornerback position. He has a sense of calmness. When you do have him out there, it's not too big for him. He's able to go out there and challenge any receiver, whether it's a big receiver or a shifty receiver. I think he's seen enough throughout the season that it allows him to play calm and play fast. Having another game underneath his belt, after being away for so long, I think that he will definitely pick back up to where he hit his stride midseason."
Lombardi on 'how to accomplish starting a game fast'
"Well, I think it's moving the football. You form a game plan with runs that you hope work and passes that you hope work, and have the right calls for the right situations. It's just executing, moving the ball and scoring points early. I don't think it's necessarily different than any other week. You always want to start fast. It's easy to say. Some weeks you're like, 'Hey, it's important that we start fast this week.' It's important that you start fast every week. It's moving the ball, scoring points and hopefully touchdowns when you get down to the red zone."
Hill on the Raiders limiting the Broncos' run production last week
"Just watching the film, you saw those guys playing with really good energy and effort. Everything wasn't always perfect, but those guys were able to get off of blocks, chase the ball-carrier down and not stay blocked. We have to take a little bit of that recipe and make sure that we're playing with good effort, getting off of blocks, not going one-for-one and try to get as many guys to these ball-carriers as possible."
Check out the best photos from the Chargers Wednesday practice at Hoag Performance Center.
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