A noticeable change in the secondary from the last time the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers met is the addition of Trevor Williams to the starting lineup in place of Jason Verrett.
Williams has been playing opposite Casey Hayward and inked the first interception of his career last Sunday.
Ahead of the Week 7 game against the Bolts, Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian discussed what he's seen from Williams as of late.
"He's a really good player (who) really knows the system well," Siemian said. "(He's a) really athletic guy who has a good nose for the football and is easily around the ball when it's on his side of the field. Definitely somebody you've got to watch out for along with the entire back end. The back end just works really well together, and you pair that up with the front and makes it a challenging defense for us to go against."
As for Head Coach Vance Joseph, he explained Williams' best quality – one he would know as he used to coach defensive backs.
"He's playing really well," Joseph admitted. "He's really competing. He hasn't been perfect; he's a young player, but he's a competitive player. He's playing with great confidence. As a former secondary coach, that's the first thing I notice is the confidence and the technique he's playing with. Obviously, Ron Milus there is a hell of a defensive backs coach, so he's getting coached up but he's playing with tremendous confidence."
In their first meeting, the Chargers had four sacks against the Broncos, with 1.5 apiece coming from Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Siemian is well aware of the edge rushers, but said he and his team have "all the respect in the world" for the pair.
"I think they complement each other really well," the quarterback explained. "They're both obviously super-athletic, powerful guys. Really have a nose for the backfield and can get around the edge really well. At the same time when they get there, a lot of times they're getting the ball out, too. So, really good football players. Smart guys obviously."
"Two edge rushers that are playing really well are Melvin and Bosa," Joseph added. "They're both top 10 in sacks in the NFL and that's hard to do when you have two guys like that. But they're both putting pressure on quarterbacks with a four-man rush like that. If you can do that, if you can rush four and get pressure on the quarterback, that's the key to playing great pass defense."
Lastly, the Chargers couldn't quite mount a comeback victory in that Week 1 match, but the offense put up 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to bring the final score within three. Evaluating how the offense has been playing as of late, Joseph knows he and his defense are in for a challenge.
"They've definitely gotten better in the run and pass game alike. I think Philip's played really well, the last two weeks especially. He's playing like Philip so I've been impressed with him. Melvin Gordon has also played well the last couple weeks. He's obviously their leading rusher and second leading receiver. He's had two great games along with Keenan Allen, who's a great receiver (and) has a number of targets each game…. It's definitely an offense that's gotten better and better. The tight ends there are really playing well…. You have to be careful with the matchups (against Hunter Henry). Most linebackers can't cover him and most safeties have a problem…. It's going to be a challenge for our defense."