Chargers prepare for Raiders

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On Wednesday the mood was pretty high at Chargers Park in San Diego, even after the loss to the Green Bay Packers. The Chargers came very close to giving the Pack their first loss of the season. Philip Rivers had a career game for the Chargers, passing for 503 yards and two touchdowns.

Their best receiver this season, Keenan Allen, had 14 receptions, but had to leave the game due to a hip injury. Right now he is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders. Other players with injuries that might affect their status for the game: Craig Mager (hamstring), D.J. Fluker (ankle), Manti Te’o (ankle), Eric Weddle (groin), Melvin Gordon (ankle) Antonio Gates (knee), Chris Watt (groin), Stevie Johnson (hamstring), Tourek Williams (foot). Most of them didn’t participate in practice; Chris Watt (center) and Stevie Johnson (wide receiver) had limited participation.

During the press conference the Chargers talked to the media about the game against the Packers and their preparation for the Raiders. As tough as the Packers were on Sunday, playing the Raiders, their biggest rivals, is always a tough, gritty game.

Quarterback Philip Rivers
Quarterback Philip Rivers

Many of the questions for head coach Mike McCoy had to do with the injury report and his answer to who would play was, “We’ll see on Sunday.”

I asked head him what did they take from their game against Green Bay that they can use this Sunday and in the future. He said, “Over all as a team, we gotta be more consistent. I think there are plenty of positives from the game last week. Once we got to 17-3 down, with a big stop on defense; we rallied, came back, did some good things, got the touchdown at the end of the half. The defense had the four out of six three-and-outs so it was outstanding, so we just kept plugging away.”

When asked about the upcoming opponents, the Oakland Raiders, McCoy said, “It’s exciting division opponents. First one of the year. It’s a good football team coming in here, coached by a guy, Jack Del Rio, who I’ve been with in Carolina and Denver, so we understand their attitude and approach to this game. It’s the first division game so it’s a big week for us.”

Quarterback Philip Rivers expressed hi support and confidence in rookie running back Melvin Gordon who fumbled the ball twice in last Sunday’s game. “ I’ve been in those situations; throw interceptions … during the game it’s next play, let’s go. He seems to have the right approach. He doesn’t need voices telling him he’s okay. He will be fine.

“There’s been this expectation for him and I still think he can live up to all those. He just has to gradually keep coming along and I’m sure he will.”

On his performance against the Packers, Rivers said, “You want to win the game. So I’ve thought way more about the lack of plays and the plays I should have made, than all the ones we made. It should give us great confidence as an offense to know that we had 32 first downs in the game, we had six drives with over ten plays … It does matter that we did the good, but winning is what we got to get; make it turn into wins. We should have no lost confidence going into this week, that we can move the ball. We just gotta score touchdowns.”

Rookie linebacker Denzel Perryman spoke at the podium and said, “Things went pretty well. The first drive I had a critical mistake that led to a touchdown (for the Packers), but as the game went on I just picked up from that first drive, and felt like I had a solid game.”

Perryman, who played at the University of Miami, talked about being new to the Chargers-Raiders rivalry, “They told me in the locker room it’s like playing Florida State.”

Raiders running back Amari Cooper is a big threat, according to Perryman and the linebacker said they go way back. “Me and him grew up in the same neighborhood, played in the same park.”

Linebacker Denzel Perryman
Linebacker Denzel Perryman

He and Oakland tight end Clive Walford are very good friends and talk almost every day. He said Walford is “Like a big brother to me. He asked me the other day, ‘Are you ready?’ because he’s coming to San Diego. I asked him if he was ready.”

The Chargers are very confident going into their first division game. For the fans, it’s the biggest game of the season so far and the team looks to the fans to add something to the game. As Perryman put it, “In that aspect of it, man, the fans play a really big role.”

The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers will meet at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego Sunday, October 25.

 (All photos by Claudia Gestro)