Below are three takeaways from Friday's pressers with Keenan Allen, Joe Lombardi and Renaldo Hill.
The lights are bright on Monday Night
The last time the Charges faced the Raiders, the Bolts were able to pull off a 30-27 overtime win late in the 2020 season. This time around, the Chargers host the Raiders for a Monday Night Football primetime game with both teams coming off big wins in Week 3.
On Friday, Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen talked about what it's like to have the Raiders at home for a primetime matchup.
"It's been a while," Allen said. "It's fun, it's a fun game. That atmosphere is good, feels like a playoff atmosphere. Obviously, everybody's watching when the lights turn on."
While many members of the coaching staff led by head coach Brandon Staley will have their first experience of the Chargers vs. Raiders rivalry, defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill has experience facing the Raiders during his playing and coaching days in Denver. Hill talked about the importance of these AFC West matchups.
"Everybody wants to be sitting in a place where they're competing for the playoffs and win the division," Hill said. "They're all important, we have a lot of tough opponents in this division. It matters, and it matters to those guys. We want to do our best job of putting them in position so we can go out there and get wins against our conference opponents."
The Chargers' flashy offensive scheme will be on full display on Monday and Allen talked about what he likes from the offense so far.
"Everybody gets a chance to eat," he said. "Everybody gets the ball. [QB] Justin [Herbert] gives it to everybody. He's not shy with one person down. It's tough to guard because you don't know who to double."
Familiarity abounds between Raiders and Chargers
The Raiders' coaching staff and player roster holds a number of former Chargers' members in Las Vegas defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, cornerback Casey Hayward Jr. and linebacker Denzel Perryman, to name a few.
Allen talked about what it will be like to face off against Hayward again, this time in a different uniform.
"It's going to be fun," Allen said. "He's my brother. We've been with each other for four or five years. He's a great guy, a great teammate, great competitor. It's going to be fun."
From 2017-2020, Allen had a chance to go up against Bradley's defensive scheme during Chargers' practices and training camps. Allen talked about the advantages of facing a familiar face, this time during a regular season game.
"We know how [the defense is] run," he said. "We know the way it's supposed to be run. That gives us a great deal of advantage. Hopefully, [QB Justin] Herbert is the one to see it. Hopefully, we can get into the zones, get to where we need to."
Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi talked about collaborating with Allen and Mike Williams to attack Bradley's defensive scheme. Lombardi expects some 'wrinkles' in the Raiders' scheme, particularly on third down, but overall explained what he might see from Bradley's defense on Monday night.
"I think they have good feel," Lombardi said. "You're' describing the defense and you're saying hey, 'his player, this is his responsibility,' they've heard that a million times at this point. So they've got a good familiarity at this point and some of the players on the other side that came from here. This defense has been around the NFL for a while…it's not complicated but it can be challenging to attack."
Justin Jones' potential of coming back Monday
A key topic discussed in press conferences the last three weeks has been about the Chargers' run defense as a unit and what they can do to slow the rush from future opponents. A big part of improving the run defense would be getting veteran DL Justin Jones back from a calf injury.
Jones has missed the last two games but has been a limited participant in practice this week and Hill talked about what it would mean to have Jones back in action.
"It's huge," Hill said. "You know I think they have the chemistry up front with those guys. Make the room competitive, next man up and we know the guys that are already there, they're going to play as well but Justin's a huge plus for us to get back. Those guys play down in and down out and they have a comfort level for each other so he's a big communication piece for us up there. We know it'll be a huge help for us this week."
Hill also talked about what the run defense can do to lock in and improve.
"We're gonna keep grinding," he said. "We know we have the guys in place who want to get it done to make this a better run defense. As coaches, we have to keep emphasizing it. We have to be better as coaches to make sure we get our point across. It's going to be huge because we know they have a ton of experience at the running back position. They have a good offensive line. We have to do a good job and stopping the run."
The lead back for the Raiders, Josh Jacobs, was limited again in practice today with an ankle injury but the Raiders still have two viable options in Kenyan Drake and Peyton Barber.
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