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Cowboys at Chargers: The latest news from the L.A. side of things

What’s going on with the L.A. Chargers?

Los Angeles Chargers v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Chargers QB Justin Herbert (finger) expects no restrictions on Monday vs. Cowboys - Kevin Patra,

The Chargers’ signal-caller doesn’t anticipate any setbacks this Monday night.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert doesn’t expect the injured finger on his non-throwing hand to affect him in Monday night’s showdown with the Dallas Cowboys.

“I think there’s so much going on during the game that you’re probably not going to be worrying about it too much,” he said, via ESPN. “I think you’re just going to be worried about not getting tackled or not taking those hits. Whether it’s a scramble, it’s about being safe and getting down. That’s in the back of your mind.”

Herbert suffered the injury after throwing an interception in Week 4. The QB finished the game with a large splint on his hand and took snaps out of the shotgun. Having a bye last week helped ensure Herbert would be healthy for the matchup against offensive coordinator Kellen Moore’s former club.

“I think it gets better every day,” Herbert said. “It’s nice having the bye week to get our bodies back. I think it’s getting better every day.”

Both Herbert and coach Brandon Staley said the injury wouldn’t restrict the under-center play calls Moore can make Monday. Still, the usage is something to track during the contest, especially if Herbert is taking a beating from the Cowboys pass rush.

Jerry Jones compares Brock Purdy to Kellen Moore ahead of Cowboys’ clash with Chargers - Austin Nivison, CBS Sports

Jones notes that the Cowboys next opponent is similar to their last opponent in football IQ.

“I have dreaded seeing Kellen on this occasion,” Jones said. “Kellen is one of my favorites, as far as individuals. He’s a talented coach. Make no mistake about it.”

This past offseason Moore left the Cowboys to take the Chargers’ offensive coordinator job. Asked about why Moore left for the same role on another team, Jones took responsibility for that.

“I had everything to do with that,” Jones said.

Jones explained that he wanted head coach Mike McCarthy to call plays, which is something he usually would have done if Moore hadn’t been on the staff when McCarthy got hired in 2020. Now, Moore will get the chance to exact some revenge on his former team this weekend.

Chargers’ reasons for optimism vs. Cowboys - Alex Katson, USA Today

Aside from a Kellen Moore “revenge game,” the Chargers have other sources of confidence.

Offensive woes

McCarthy’s criticisms of Moore in March, after the Cowboys parted ways with the coordinator, have been very public. The Cowboys head coach bemoaned Moore’s desire to “light the scoreboard up” rather than controlling time of possession and said, “I don’t desire to be the No. 1 offense in the league. I want to be the No. 1 team in the league with several wins and a championship.”

Well, through five games, Dallas has neither. They are 3-2, but their lackluster offense has been the biggest talking point this season, with several poor performances after a solid start to the season against the Giants. Dak Prescott has thrown four interceptions, three against the 49ers last week. CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks’ usages have been frustrating, both for fans of the team and the players themselves.

Injuries galore

Do you think the Chargers are dealing with a ton of injuries? Dallas put seventeen players on the injury report on Thursday, with seven more on injured reserve. A few of those are rest-related – veterans Stephon Gilmore, Johnathan Hankins, Demarcus Lawrence, Zack Martin, and Tyron Smith were all DNPs with rest designations – but it’s still a lengthy list of players Dallas may be without on Monday night.

The most notable players are cornerback Trevon Diggs, returner KaVontae Turpin, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, and running back Tony Pollard. Diggs is on injured reserve with a knee injury. Turpin, who returned a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown in the preseason against the Chargers last season, did not practice Thursday with an ankle injury. Vander Esch did not practice due to concussion protocol and has a neck injury. A shoulder issue limited Pollard.

Monday Night Herbert

Justin Herbert is 3-1 on Monday Night Football, with his only loss coming as a rookie in 2020 against the Drew Brees-led Saints in a 30-27 overtime duel. In four career outings, Herbert has completed 66.3% of his passes for 959 yards and seven touchdowns on ESPN’s primetime programming.

Chargers News: This Defensive Weakness Could Come Back To Bite LA Vs Cowboys - Matt Levine, Sports Illustrated

The Chargers have a glaring weakness that Dallas will likely try to exploit.

Dallas thrives off running the football, and they will look to do just that against the Bolts this week. The Chargers haven’t been good at stopping the run, and the Cowboys would be smart to exploit it all game. If they can set the rhythm early by running the ball, it could end up being a long night for the LA faithful.

In a fresh piece, Gavino Borquez of Chargers Wire takes a look at LA’s struggles with run defense and how it can come back to bite them this week, in the form of Cowboys running back Tony Pollard.

“Pollard hasn’t been that effective in recent action, as he has totaled less than 50 rushing yards in his last two games. And while the Chargers have been pretty solid at defending the run, opposing running backs in the passing game have caused issues for them. Los Angeles is allowing the fifth-most receiving yards to running backs, with their most recent game being where Josh Jacobs caught eight passes for 81 yards. Pollard could be used in the same manner.

Per Gavino Borquez of Chargers Wire

If the Chargers can contain the run, it would force Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott to have to beat them. Prescott is a good player, but he gets into trouble when the team is forced to rely on him for everything.

It will be up to the Chargers defensive front to limit the damage from the Cowboys running attack, and if they can, it could result in a win. This will be a major part of this game to watch, and will likely dictate who wins.

Friday’s injury report for the Cowboys.

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