As we prepare for this weekend’s matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Los Angeles Chargers, we talked to the experts on the Chargers, our friends over at Bolts From The Blue.
Blogging The Boys: Chargers fans must be ecstatic about Justin Herbert. Tell us all we need to know about him as a QB.
Bolts From The Blue: You want to talk about a guy who just does all the right things and does them in the right way? That’s Justin Herbert. He’s a simple man of simple pleasures. Outside of football, he’s an avid golfer and enjoys smoking brisket. I think one of the best stories to encapsulate Herbert’s personality is the one about how he played the board game Settlers of Catan almost every night during training camp. He’s also VERY competitive, which is nice to have in your starting quarterback. It may not be that nice when playing a board game, however.
On the field, Herbert is as cool as they come. He showed an immensely calm demeanor early in his career when he went to-to-toe with Tom Brady and Drew Brees in back-to-back games last year. He’s got a rocket arm and can make all the throws. He could probably make some of the same no-look passes that Patrick Mahomes makes, but he’s just not that risk-averse. He’s calculated in everything he does and I believe that’s why he gets along so well with head coach Brandon Staley.
At the end of the day, he’s a young kid who simply wants to do everything the right way while also harboring an intense competitive nature. The Chargers are absolutely blessed to have him as their quarterback.
BTB: Who is Brandon Staley? What is he bringing to the Chargers? What is his basic football philosophy and what did you learn about him in Week 1?
BFTB: To the crazed Chargers fan base, Brandon Staley is the next big thing in the NFL. He’s the defensive version of Sean McVay who is about to take the league by storm.
The biggest thing Staley has brought to the Chargers is a progressive culture. They went from being a run-heavy, “to hell with the numbers”-type of franchise to an analytics-based team that is willing to put in the extra work, in all areas, to gain an edge on their competition. It’s incredibly refreshing for just about everyone who has been a Chargers fan for the last decade.
Staley’s football philosophy comes down to doing things “the right way.” Again, no wonder he and Herbert became fast friends. He’s purposeful. Everything has to be intertwined with something else. He’s also incredibly invested in his relationships with everyone on the team. He doesn’t just know the name of everyone in the building, he knows every one of us in the media whom he speaks with on a weekly basis.
Lastly, we learned in week one that Staley is the real deal. He took a team that couldn’t ever finish a game with a fourth-quarter lead and showed they could not only hold on to the win, but finish with the ball in their possession.
BTB: We all know about Joey Bosa, but who else on the defense is playing high-quality football? Is there an under-the-radar player we should look out for?
BFTB: After just one game, I’d say rookie cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. is a name to keep an eye on in this one. He’ll be tasked with attempting to handle the prolific duo of Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb.
Against Washington, he helped limit a sneaky passing attack and showed he can handle making tackles in the open field and while on an island. He plays with that same Florida State swagger we all love to watch with Derwin James, as well. He’s going to be a ball hawk, but that usually comes with some grabby play. He’ll get you the ball but you may have to deal with the occasional holding penalty.
I should also give a nod to linebaker Kyzir White. After dealing with injuries early in his career, he’s continued to develop and now has a starting job in Staley’s 3-4 defense. Against Washington, he forced a pivotal fumble that helped snatch the momentum back from the Football Team. He’s been playing with his hair on fire ever since the preseason and the team hopes that only continues this week.
BTB: What is happening in the red zone? That seemed to be one of the big issues in Week 1. How can the Bolts change the narrative?
BFTB: Unfortunately the red zone issues were also a problem last season. However, I believe week one was a bit flukey. The 15-yard incomplete pass that was ruled a fumble through the end zone didn’t help and it’s not often a defender is in position to pick off a corner route thrown ahead of the pass-catcher. Add in the strange drop by Allen inside the 20-yard line you have a pretty rare set of events. Despite all that, I think the Chargers simply need to continue doing what they were doing this past week. I have a feeling they’ll be just fine.
BTB: Are there any major injuries, personnel issues, COVID-related items that we should be aware of for the Chargers heading into the game?
BFTB: As things stand right now, the only real notable injury is Bryan Bulaga who left early this past Sunday with a lower back injury. He missed the second half and was replaced by Storm Norton. After missing most of their practices last week, Austin Ekeler is good to go this week. Names like Derwin James, Chris Harris, and Justin Jones wound up on Wednesday’s injury report but that can be chalked up to the coaching staff being overly-cautious.
Thanks for the knowledge, Bolts From the Blue.