Pro Football Focus senior analyst Steve Palazzolo was a guest on Thursday's episode of Chargers Weekly, the official podcast of the team.
At the midway point of the season, Palazzolo discussed a few of the highest-performing Chargers including quarterback Philip Rivers, cornerback Desmond King and rookie safety Derwin James. Highlights from the conversation are below:
On Rivers' impressive numbers:
"I think Rivers has been fantastic; making good decisions, getting the ball down the field, and his numbers off play action and under pressure have just been absolutely incredible. His passer rating under pressure (is) by far the number one, the highest in the league (at) 112.7 and then when using play action – I got to check to see if it's still perfect, but it was perfect (at) 158.3. Yeah, it still is; 158.3 passer rating when using play action so, (a) couple of those numbers that really stand out for Rivers so far."
On King being PFF's highest-graded cornerback in the NFL:
"We liked him a ton coming out of Iowa. (He) always graded well in our system; saw him as a much better player than just a fifth-round pick. He's made us look pretty smart so far and I love the fit for the Chargers' system. The pick-six (in Seattle) was just a great example of what he can do. Playing corner's not just about playing man coverage and one-on-one all the time. It's playing zone. It's tackling. It's all these different things added up into one and this year he's been excellent at making plays on the ball. He's got four pass breakups to go with his three interceptions. (He) always seems to be in the right position."
James' early success in the NFL:
"Man, I love Derwin James. We had him as a top 10 player in the draft. (I) thought the Chargers got a steal. … He had the highest college safety grade that we gave out in 2015 and 2017. So, as a true freshman, best safety in the nation and then as a junior last year, best safety in the nation. And it's because Florida State used him all over the field and it's good to see the Chargers – you see him making plays all over the field. He's in the box, you mentioned those 17 stops. That's making tackles in and around the line of scrimmage. I made a joke before the draft that he's a better pass rusher than (Broncos defensive end) Bradley Chubb; only half-joking there. I mean, I honestly think Derwin's skilled enough if you made him a pure edge defender that he would get after the quarterback and I think that's what makes him so dangerous."
Also on this week's episode: Radio analyst Daniel Jeremiah looks back to the team's win in Seattle and shares his key to a sixth-straight win in Oakland (13:10); NFL Network's Omar Ruiz talks Chargers and the overall AFC landscape entering the back half of the season (19:20); and Yahoo Sports' Harmon dishes out Week 10 fantasy advice (34:40).
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