Here's what offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill had to say ahead of Week 18.
Joe Lombardi on the Raiders defense
"The first thing that jumps out on the film is their pass rush. Their defensive ends are tough to block and they consistently get a pass rush, and they get it there quickly. That's a huge challenge. They're tough in the run game, as well. They're so active and high-effort guys. They're strong inside. The scheme itself is a simple one, but those guys really, especially as this season has gone on — early in the year, you could tell that they were still learning all the nuances — you can see, as the year has gone on, they're getting more comfortable. They're playing faster. With any coach's first year, as the guys learn the system a little bit more, they tend to play it a little bit better and a little tighter. They've definitely been playing well."
Renaldo Hill on QB Derek Carr's progression this season
"He's just poised. He's been in this system for a number of years now. You can see that he has complete control of it. He knows where to go with the ball, makes quick decisions. If something happens, he doesn't get flustered, just responds the way a QB is supposed to. That's what you're seeing from him."
Lombardi on 'if it is different preparing for a heavy Cover 3 scheme'
"It's different in some ways. When we were in New Orleans, Atlanta played it. It feels like I've been staring at this style of defense for eight years, nine years now. You're always watching and trying to find the weakness that you can easily exploit, but it's a very sound system, so they have it kind of tightened up to where it's not easy to get 30, 40-yard gains on them, 20-yard gains. It's a defense that tries to force you to stay patient. We talked about it last week a little bit with Denver, you just have to be very efficient when you go against a team like this. It doesn't mean that you won't have big, explosive plays, but if you chase them too hard, you can get behind the sticks, so don't be afraid to check the ball down and take what the defense is giving you."
Hill on containing WR Hunter Renfrow
"He does a good job of being able to separate. He's a multi-cut route-runner, so if you have him covered on the first move, his second and third act is where he separates. We have to do a good job of staying connected to this guy at all times. Even when we think that we have him covered, we have to stay complete until the play is over because he will separate, and those second and third acts, he makes a lot of hay there."
Lombardi on what has led to the development of the run game over the second half of the season
"I think familiarity with the system and just staying with it. Like we said earlier, reps and time-on-task. That part of the game is very important. I think as the season goes on and the O-linemen work together more, and the running backs get a little more work, it all kind of comes into play that way. A number of factors, but I think [Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach] Frank Smith, [Assistant Offensive Line Coach] Shaun Sarrett, [Tight Ends Coach] Kevin Koger and [Running Backs Coach] Derrick Foster, those guys that head that up, they do a great job. It's been good to have in this part of the season."
Hill on 'who else they have to worry about' on the Raiders' offense outside of Waller and Renfrow
"Definitely [Raiders WR] Zay Jones. He's a guy that really came on for those guys when Waller was down. You knew that he was capable of that. I saw him a ton over when he was at Buffalo. When he gets the go-ahead, he really expresses to the NFL that he still can get it done. You can see it on the film, whether he is blocking or in the pass routes, that he's a guy that's always doing things the right way. You can tell that [Derek] Carr trusts him. When he got his opportunity, he made it happen. We have to be prepared for him, as well as all of the other threats that they have. They're really loaded at the receiver position with [Raiders WR DeSean] Jackson and [Raiders WR] Bryan Edwards — all of those guys have something that they bring to the table. We have to be ready for those guys; it's a good group. I really like how Zay Jones has come on for those guys."
Lombardi on if Herbert 'rises up' in primetime games
"I think some guys kind of get a little bit extra juice or adrenaline going for when they know that all eyes are on them. Justin [Herbert] feels like he's pretty consistent. Every game day, he's kind of got that killer instinct going. I don't know if it's just coincidence or if that's going play out over the long haul, but I feel like he plays pretty well every week. Sometimes, with stats, you could play a perfect game and your stats may not be as gaudy as some other weeks, but, hopefully, that trend continues this week."
Check out the best photos from the Chargers Wednesday practice at Hoag Performance Center.
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