Brandon Staley: Chargers can’t fumble against Raiders’ pass rush

He spoke about his defense’s struggles against Wednesday’s run, as Brandon Staley remarked that football was “such a great team game”.

The Chargers head coach pointed out that it’s not just about the big bodies playing well up front, but the entire defense working together to stop the run.

“Just like on offense, they’re like, ‘Okay, sacks are about the O-line,'” explained Staley. “Well, it isn’t. It’s about your quarterback. It’s about your protection plan. There’s a whole bunch of things.”

The notice was timely as Justin Herbert’s protection is another issue that has surfaced recently for the Chargers.

After playing the worst five-sack game of his career in Week 11 against Kansas City, Herbert was sacked four more times in Arizona on Sunday. In 43 starts, he had just one other game in which he was sacked four times.

Despite the back-to-back tough games, Staley said he was pleased with the fact Herbert stayed on the ball.

“Every sack has a story and you have to look at that,” Staley said. “I think the only thing Justin has proven is that he is an excellent decision maker and that he is really strong with the ball.

“Even though we had nine sacks, we had zero fumbling. That’s important to be strong with football. That’s how you win league games, protect football and take it away.”

Herbert’s two losing fumbles this season came on sacks – in Week 3 against Jacksonville and Week 7 against Seattle, both home losses for the Chargers.

According to NFL gameday statistics, he’s been hit 23 times in the past two weeks, 32 times in the last three games.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) is fired by Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) is fired by Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons. The cardinals have fired him four times.

(Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)

San Francisco’s Nick Bosa and Kansas City’s Chris Jones each hit Herbert four times, and Arizona’s JJ Watt hit him three times.

Here comes Maxx Crosby, fourth in the NFL with 10½ sacks, Sunday afternoon at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. He had 1½ sacks and six quarterback hits Sunday against Seattle.

Staley called Crosby “as good as it gets”. He was that and more when those teams last met right on the Strip. In week 18 of last season, Crosby sacked Herbert twice and hit him two more times.

He primarily used the then-Chargers’ right tackle against Storm Norton, whose shares have fallen so dramatically since Norton was inactive against the Cardinals on Sunday.

The Chargers offensive line has been without a Pro Bowl left tackle Rashawn Slater (ruptured bicep) since Week 3 and lost to Pro Bowl center Corey Linsley (concussion) in the second quarter Sunday. Linsley remains in the NFL record, his status for the game against the Raiders in doubt.

Right tackle Trey Pipkins III also missed training Wednesday due to a knee injury he’s been struggling with for several weeks.

The Chargers could start the game in Las Vegas the way they ended the game in Arizona, with two rookies, an undrafted free agent and a reserve making up 80% of their offensive line.

Staley said that success on the first down will be a key to protecting Herbert against the Raiders.

“Stay out of known passing situations,” he said when asked for an explanation. “When you’re out, it’s loud, and you’re playing against quality rushers, you multiply your chances of putting yourself at risk.”

Bosa update

The Chargers remain hopeful that Pro Bowl edge rusher Joey Bosa will make it back from surgery this season for a groin injury. He hasn’t played since week 3. Staley said he doesn’t think the Chargers’ playoff status will affect Bosa’s return.

“I don’t think that’s his mindset or ours,” Staley said. “He’s making good progress. We’ll see when he’s back. However, we will make sure he is ready to go and be the Joey we know he is.”


Safety Derwin James Jr. (hip), wide receiver Mike Williams (ankle), Pipkins III (knee) and cornerback Bryce Callahan (groin) did not practice Wednesday. … Safety Nasir Adderley (thumb) exercised limited, protecting his injury with a large protection stick on his right hand. Brandon Staley: Chargers can’t fumble against Raiders’ pass rush

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