NFL Network analyst Willie McGinest was a guest on this week's episode of Chargers Weekly, the official podcast of the team.
McGinest, a two-time Pro Bowler, had 78 sacks in 12 seasons with the Patriots – good for second in franchise history. Super Bowl-winning head coach Bill Cowher, NFL Network's Omar Ruiz, the Boston Globe's Ben Volin and Chargers radio analyst Daniel Jeremiah also joined this week's divisional round episode to preview Sunday's matchup between Los Angeles and New England. Highlights from the conversation with McGinest are below.
On the L.A. pass rush vs. New England (16:05):
"Well, they know it's coming. The Patriots, they're a smart team. They know that with (Joey) Bosa and (Melvin) Ingram and even Uchenna (Nwosu) – they know that those guys can get there, and even (Derwin) James for that matter. They bring James a lot on blitzes and use him as an outside rusher. So, (New England does) understand that they are going to try to attack the middle of the pocket and try to (have) success there, and you need that. You need a front that can get there with just four to force a quarterback to get the ball out of his hands, to get him to rush throws. And we've seen it this year when Brady's had pressure, gotten hit in the pocket, (he) hasn't been as effective and the offensive line understands that. So, I think it's going to be a great matchup up front."
On the running backs on both teams having an impact this Sunday (20:15):
"The backs are heavily used in both systems. I think they open up a lot of things down the field and with the running game, man, and having that balance, you see it across the league. Big-time quarterbacks, when you add balance to the system – their offensive systems – it just changes things and it adds a lot for the defense to have to worry about, especially guys out of the backfield that can do both – dual threats. So, I'm looking at this matchup like, I'm thinking the backs will be, on both sides of the ball, will be huge factors in this football game – not just handing the ball off to them, but in the passing game."
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