Here's a breakdown of the news from the Chargers' ninth week of the season:
Monday: The Justin Jones Effect
Monday's focus was on breaking down the Chargers' Week 8 battle against the New England Patriots. Head coach Brandon Staley talked about how he was pleased with the performance of the Bolts defensive unit, especially after two of the Chargers' top corners went down with injuries in the game in Michael Davis and Asante Samuel Jr.
"Our third-down defense has been excellent," Staley said. "Third down-and-four or more has been excellent throughout the entire year. I think that's been a real strength of our defense. The types of coverages that we've played, the types of pressure systems that we've played, I think that's a real strength of our defense right now. Sack production, that will come with the more leads that we have. That's more of a team operation. The way that we've rushed and covered, which is really what pass defense is — it's rush and coverage — I feel like that's been a strength of our team so far."
The Bolts felt the presence and energy of veteran defensive lineman Justin Jones on Sunday. Jones talked about how he felt in his first game action since Week 1 against Washington.
"That first play made me feel like I was back," Jones said. "In the first half, I was getting into the rhythm of things; reading my keys, the run-pass keys and stuff like that, just getting back and playing actual football in the game. That second half, I feel like I picked my play up, just being more comfortable and getting back in the rhythm with my guys and trying to be that spark that we needed on defense."
On Monday the Chargers also announced their new plans to move the team’s headquarters and facilities to El Segundo. The 14-acre plans were revealed after more than four years of searching for a new facility. Construction is expected to be completed in the spring of 2024.
Wednesday: A touchdown to remember
On Wednesday, rookie wide receiver Joshua Palmer spoke to the media about his first NFL touchdown. Palmer made an incredible play to secure the touchdown against the Patriots and made a moment in his career that he won't forget, according to the rookie.
Palmer talked about the added confidence the touchdown gave him amongst a talented wide receiver corps.
"I've always had confidence in being around great leaders like [WR] Keenan [Allen], [WR] Mike [Williams] and [WR Jalen] JG [Guyton] and my coaching staff," Palmer said. "Even the defensive guys push me, every day. I develop confidence every day throughout practice. It's just great to be able to show it to the world on gameday."
While Staley has a connection with a number of coaches in the NFL, he shares a unique bond with Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Staley and Gannon have known each other since the fourth grade in Ohio. In fact, Gannon and his wife are godparents to his youngest son.
Staley talked about what it'll mean to coach against his hometown friend.
"He's one of my very, very best friends." Staley said. "He's one of the best men I know, he's one of the best coaches I know. I certainly wouldn't be here without him. We started competing against each other in the fourth grade playing AAU basketball…we kind of grew up on the basketball court together, competing against one another, we were both point guards and kind of similar type players and similar type competitors. Just got to know one another and stayed in close touch when we were in college when we were both playing."
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni (2013-2017) and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen (2014-2020) both were members of the Chargers coaching staff during those respective years. Take a look at what Sirianni, Steichen and more had to say about facing players they grew close to like Keenan Allen and Justin Herbert.
Thursday: Preparing for Jalen Hurts
On Thursday, the full focus was on preparing for the Eagles. The Eagles proved in their commanding 44-6 win over the Detroit Lions last Sunday that they have a lethal rushing attack. Just two quarterbacks in the NFL have rushed for over 400 yards this season, one being Jalen Hurts and the other, Lamar Jackson. After Week 9, the Bolts will have faced both of those dual-threat QBs.
Chargers defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill talked about how the defense is preparing to contain Hurts and company.
"They definitely made a point that, 'Hey, we are going to run this football,'" Hill said. "Could that be the attack moving forward? I'm not sure, we just gotta be prepared. Obviously, we are going to prepare for those runs we saw from the Lions game…they've shown that they can be explosive, they got some big guys up front, some experienced guys up front. When you have both the quarterback element as well as the [running] back included in that it makes it tough. We have to cover all of those bases in order for us to be solid against the run this week."
Hill also talked about the type of passer that Hurts is, explaining he can get the job done in and out of the pocket, and mentioned how the Bolts have been preparing at corner knowing that they likely will be down two starting cornerbacks in Asante Samuel Jr. and Michael Davis.
"The guys that we have had in the practices, we've asked them to be ready to step up at any time," Hill said. "A lot of those guys we were talking about getting in the rotation anyway, so it just adds a little bit more urgency to our group that, 'Hey, you're going to be ready to roll,' and if they are out there, we don't expect anything different. Those guys prepare hard and [secondary] coach [Derrick] Ansley and [secondary assistant] coach [Tom] Donatell do a good job of getting those guys prepared."
Friday: 'All Hands On Deck'
On Friday cornerbacks Michael Davis and Asante Samuel Jr. were both officially listed as out for Sunday’s game. Staley, who said the Bolts need 'all hands-on deck' in Philadelphia, discussed how he's been pleased with the rest of the cornerbacks room stepping up this week in practice in absence of the two starters.
"I think that [Secondary Coach] Derrick Ansley, [Assistant Secondary Coach] Tommy Donatell, [Defensive Coordinator] Renaldo [Hill] — that whole group of guys does such a good job of cross-training these guys," Staley said. "These guys have game action. They've been in the fire, whether it was in the preseason or this season. [CB] Kemon [Hall] was out there in the Kansas City game, playing for us when [CB] Chris [Harris Jr.] was down. T.C. [CB Tevaughn Campbell] played most of that game, starting at Star. He has also played outside for us. All of those guys have had meaningful experience. [CB] Ryan [Smith] has played in this league, too. I think that experience helps."
On Saturday, Tevaughn Campbell was added to the injury report with a groin injury and was listed as questionable for Sunday's game. The Chargers also activated wide receiver Maurice Ffrench and cornerback Kiondre Thomas from the practice squad.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, whose team will face off against former Chargers offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, talked about what it will be like to go against his former coach. Herbert also discussed the mindset he needs to bounce back against the Eagles.
"Adversity is going to happen," Herbert said. "It's all about how you react to it. Kind of like I mentioned, I think the guys have done a great job responding to it. It's a long NFL season. If you let one team beat you again, you're going to have a tough season. It's all about bouncing back and attacking each week as they come."
The Chargers are slated to kick off Week 9 against the Eagles at 1:05 p.m. Pacific on Sunday. The Chargers look to go into Philadelphia and pull off the win like they were able to do in 2013 where they beat the Eagles 33-30.
Odds and Ends
Videos of the Week
This week also brought a collection of videos to Chargers fans, take a look at the top videos released throughout the week.
All In: Episode 6 | In The Trenches
The sixth instalment of 'All In' aired on Friday with this episode focusing on how the Chargers rebuilt their offensive line during the 2021 offseason. Hear from general manager Tom Telesco on how the Chargers were able to reconstruct such an important unit on a football team in just one offseason. Take a look back at rookie left tackle Rashawn Slater's draft night and get to know Slater's family in this latest edition of All In.
Running for History: Episode 1 | Built By Texas:
On Friday, the first episode of 'Running for History' aired on YouTube and on all audio streaming platforms. This six-part narrative podcast chronicles legendary Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson's historic 2006 season with the Bolts. This first episode focuses on LT's roots in Texas and his path to playing for TCU. Hear from people that were a big part of LT's life and relive moments like the first time Tomlinson met Drew Brees in high school and LT's record-breaking 406 yard game against UTEP in 1999.
An Inside Look at the Chargers' Iconic New Practice Facility:
On Monday the Chargers made the big announcement that team will be constructing a brand new practice facility in El Segundo. Take a look at what went into the decision to pick El Segundo as the Chargers' new home-base and what it means to have the Bolts in the heart of Los Angeles.
Film Room: Chargers Defense vs. Eagles Rushing Attack:
In this edition of Film Room, Chris Hayre and Daniel Jeremiah take a look back at the film from the Eagles' commanding 44-6 win over the Lions last week. Jeremiah talks about what makes Jalen Hurts such a unique rushing quarterback and what the Bolts need to do in order to slow him down on Sunday.
Tweets of the Week
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