Below are three takeaways from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley, wide receiver Keenan Allen and defensive lineman Austin Johnson on Wednesday.
Joey Bosa is back in the building
The Bolts have welcomed a familiar face back to their team facility, as Joey Bosa is now rehabbing his groin injury at Hoag Performance Center.
Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley provided an update on the outside linebacker Wednesday, noting the team is excited to have him back in the building.
"Joey Bosa's recovery, he's back in the building and doing well," Staley said. "He looks healthy, fresh. Obviously, he's going to be week-to-week.
"We'll let you know when he's closer to returning to practice, but he's in good spirits, and the progress has been positive and we're excited about that," Staley added.
Bosa was injured in Week 3 against the Jaguars when he tore his groin, and later had surgery on repair it.
Up until his injury, Bosa had put together a hot start to the season with 1.5 sacks, four QB hits and a forced fumble. With Bosa and fellow outside linebacker Khalil Mack on opposite ends, the pair had showed their capability through two-plus games.
With no set timetable for a return, Bosa being back in the building is a start. According to Staley, there will be more clarity on his return to game action once he is back on the practice field.
"Once he returns to practice, then you can, I think, establish a timeline of what's next," Staley said. "Until he's out there at practice, I think we just have to err on the side of not saying anything, that way we don't get our hopes up one way or the other."
Allen updates hamstring status
While the Chargers got good news with Bosa's return, it was less encouraging with Keenan Allen.
The wide receiver played 23 snaps in Week 7 against Seattle as he was on a pitch count for that game.
Allen said Wednesday that while his hamstring felt great going into that game, he revealed that it worsened during a rehab session over the bye week.
"Just kind of hit it again ... just typical rehab, running," Allen said.
He later added: "I don't think it was a restrain or anything. Just some more scar tissue that's trying to break off. Whenever it's ready to heal, just got to let it do its own thing."
Is there a timetable for his return?
"Not at this point," Allen said. "Keep working through it and hope it starts getting better."
Through seven games, Allen has played 45 total snaps with six catches for 77 yards.
The 30-year-old said he's trying to stay mentally tough as he tries to heal physically.
"Got to take it day-by-day. When it's ready to come back, it'll be ready," Allen said. "I'll be ready. I'll stay ready. When I can play, I can play."
However, Allen noted that when he does return, he won't be on a pitch count like he was against the Seahawks.
"I definitely don't want to do the halfway thing again," Allen said. "Just want to come back 100%, not worried about it."
Staley said Wednesday that others will need to step up in the absence of Allen and Mike Williams, who is expected to miss a few weeks with an ankle injury.
"We'll be confident with whoever goes out there that is dressed up. We have full confidence in our group," Staley said. "We know all of the guys on our team. We're going to have to put a good gameplan [together] with the guys who are out there."
Allen said he's doing all he can to support the Bolts during a frustrating time.
"It's part of it. It's a tough game. It's a tough game," Allen said. "Just being around, helping the guys with whatever they need. Mentally, staying strong, going to the walk-throughs, showing up so they can ask questions."
In other injury news, wide receiver Joshua Palmer and tight end Donald Parham, Jr., are both out of concussion protocol and practiced Wednesday.
Outside linebacker Chris Rumph II has an MCL sprain but is trending in the right direction.
"His knee is progressing well, that has been a bright spot," Staley said. "I think that he is getting a lot closer to returning."
And kicker Dustin Hopkins, who has a hamstring injury, is also working his way back.
"Week-to-week, but going well," Staley said. "Made good progress over the bye and, I think, getting closer to a return to practice."
Bolts wary of Atlanta's 'high-level' run game
Sunday's game against the NFC South-leading Falcons will test the Bolts defense in an area that they have been wanting to improve through the first seven games — run defense.
The Falcons enter the Week 9 matchup near the top of a lot of rushing categories in the NFL. With the second-most rushing attempts in the NFL and fifth-most rushing yards, Atlanta has found a lot of success on the ground.
Staley assessed the Falcons running game, noting that they have a multitude of players who run the ball.
"They're doing a really good job. They run the ball at a really high level, and then they throw the ball down the field," Staley said. "They get a lot of explosions both ways. Time of possession, they really possess the ball.
"I think that, in terms of the matchup, they have guys with over 50 carries. They spread the ball around in the run game. Their quarterback [Marcus Mariota] is a factor running it on loose plays. Marcus is playing fantastic this season." Staley added.
As Staley points out, Mariota provides a challenge as a dual-threat quarterback.
Mariota currently ranks seventh in the NFL in rushing yards among quarterbacks, making him a weapon outside of the pocket. Defensive lineman Austin Johnson talked about Mariota and the key to slowing him down on Sunday.
"He can run. He's a very good runner and he could obviously pass the ball," Johnson said. "We got to try to keep him in the pocket and just attack him the whole time in the run game."
The Falcons may get some help this Sunday as well, as running back Cordarrelle Patterson was designated to return to practice after being on Injured Reserve.
Staley is no stranger to Patterson, as the two crossed paths at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas while Patterson played football at the school. Staley, who was on the coaching staff at Hutchinson at the same time Patterson played there, knows what type of player he is and what he brings to the field if he were to play on Sunday.
"Rare size and speed. Rare acceleration. Rare contact player," Staley said about Patterson. "He's 230 [pounds]. People look at him and they don't realize how big he is. He runs fast through the smoke, fearless through the smoke.
"I saw it as an 18-year-old kid at Hutchinson Community College. He was the same way then that he is now. Anyone that has ever been around him knows how special he is," Staley added.
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