Below are three takeaways from Thursday's press conferences with Keenan Allen, Renaldo Hill and Joe Lombardi:
After the Chargers' win over the Eagles in Week 9, veteran wide receiver Keenan Allen felt that the offense was finally clicking. Allen, who hit 8,000 career receiving yards last Sunday, talked about where he feels the offense is at after a Week 10 loss against the Minnesota Vikings.
"I think it's still building," Allen said. "Obviously, we're still looking for the whole togetherness for the whole game. Trying to put that together and still working, trying to get better."
Allen feels confident in the offense and explained the Chargers just need to 'execute better on Sundays.' He also explained how the team can have success against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11 and beyond.
"Playing together," Allen said. "Helping each other out with whatever that may be. Offense, defense, special teams all coming together making plays together just finishing the whole game."
For offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, getting reps together as an offense is a key part of building continuity in the unit.
Lombardi talked about how the wide receiver pair of Jalen Guyton and Joshua Palmer are working together to contribute to the Bolts offense as the season progresses.
"Depending on the play, who is fresh and what they're doing, that's kind of how you decide who goes in the game," Lombardi said. "Jalen [Guyton] is not going to go away in our offense. He will still be there. Sometimes we want Josh [Palmer] and Jalen in the game and that doesn't mean that Mike or Keenan [Allen] is the fourth receiver, it's just that they need a break or there is a role that we want those guys to play because of that play. Jalen's speed won't go away."
Who will be available on the Steelers defense?
With a chance to get the Bolts offense back on track under the lights, Lombardi talked about what stands out to him when looking at a Steelers defense that ranks sixth in sacks in the NFL and what that means when it comes to attempting deep passes against them.
"They are a team that can put pressure on you," Lombardi said. "That's a challenge but that doesn't mean that you can't go deep, you just have to be smart about when and your protections. We'll see how it all works out but that would be the big challenge, the protection and the pass rush."
Earlier this week, Steelers starting safety Minkah Fitzpatrick tested positive for COVID-19 leaving his status for Sunday's game in the air. Two other starters for the Steelers haven't practiced this week with linebacker T.J. Watt and cornerback Joe Haden on the injury report.
Allen talked about how the game status for those players might affect the Bolts' gameplan.
"When you watch it, it's not as complex as it has been," Allen said of the Steelers defensive scheme. "Obviously, with [S] Minkah [Fitzpatrick] in there they are running a couple different things. Outside of that, hopefully [LB T.J.] Watt doesn't play. If Watt plays, we'll have to scheme around him a little more. He is definitely a key player."
'Build this thing over'
When describing rookie running back Najee Harris, Chargers defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill compared his athleticism to that of a wrestler. Hill also talked about Harris' ability to wrestle with defenders when the first contact is made and how important it will be to 'strain' in order to get him on the ground.
While the Chargers prepare to face Harris, they're doing it with a rushing defense that's made positive strides over the last few games.
Hill talked about what that group has done since the bye week in order to improve in that area.
"The biggest thing we did was just scrape it off," Hill said. "Scrape it from the start and build this thing over. Just hearing the verbiage again, we wanted to make sure that everybody was on the same page, players and coaches that we are all talking about the same thing and how we are going to play it. From the front to the back, they hear it in detail what everyone needs to do in order to be successful in the run game."
Hill also discussed how important 'technique' is in regards to getting that unit shored up.
"The other thing we talked about is the technique portion of it," he explained. "How do we want to play something? Still, when you're coming into a new team, sometimes there is some carry-over that you fall back on some of the things you did in the past. We wanted to make sure to describe it in detail, take it into practice, work on those guy points in order for us to be better."
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