The Chargers had an uncharacteristically flashy offseason, going on a spending spree in free agency and trading a second-round pick for OLB Khalil Mack. They did so at the urging of HC Brandon Staley, who saw the holes on the roster that were exposed last season and pitched the team’s brain trust that just drafting and developing weren’t going to be enough.
“He’s right,” Chargers owner Dean Spanos said via ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry. “We needed to be aggressive like that and move on it. That’s why we did what we did.”
“You get what you pay for,” Spanos added. “And sometimes, you have to pay more.”
Chargers GM Tom Telesco had never traded a first or second-round pick for a player, so the trade for Mack and the money handed out in free agency marked a major shift in how he was used to operating.
“If you’re going to bring in Khalil, especially at his age, with his contract, and giving up a second-round pick,” Telesco said, “that’s pretty significant for us.”
The Chargers would push back if you asked them if they were copying the Rams, even though everyone in the NFL tries to dissect and replicate the Super Bowl winner’s success. Staley came over from the Rams, however, and the Chargers are acutely aware of how they’re competing with their Los Angeles neighbors.
“This is a very, very competitive market right here,” Spanos said. “Not only do you have to win, you have to obviously be good, you have to win, but you got to continually win and … you’ve got to be exciting. You have to be exciting. To do all those things is not easy when you have the Lakers and the Dodgers and, of course, the Rams, and give them their credit — they’re the world champions. They’ve been to the Super Bowl twice in the last few years … it’s incredible.”
“Yeah, I thought he did a nice job,” Reid said, via ChiefsWire. “(The draft) pick doesn’t matter now, right? It’s a matter of how he continues to up his game with the things that he’s seeing there. That’s the important part and focusing in on the gameplan and being able to execute that absolutely (the) best he can. There’s a lot to do when you start getting ready for these things, especially a Thursday night, you don’t have the whole training camp to get ready for it.”
Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo was pleased with how Watson played in Week 1.
“(I) was really happy with how Jaylen (Watson) went in there and did what he did,” Spagnuolo said. “They challenged him right away, which is what real good teams do. And he made that play down the sideline, which was good to see.”
Spagnuolo is glad that Watson and first-round CB Trent McDuffie got playing time in the season opener.
“I think more than anything it was just good that they got first-game jitters out of their system,” Spagnuolo said. “They got a couple of reps under their belt and hopefully, that’ll help us in a quick turnaround to playing on Thursday.”
The Raiders rotated Dylan Parham and Lester Cotton Sr. at guard while Jermaine Eluemunor and Thayer Munford Jr. split time at right tackle in Week 1. HC Josh McDaniels responded they will continue playing their best five offensive linemen who are available.
“We’re not searching for anything. We’re playing the guys that deserve to play,” McDaniels said, via Tashan Reed of The Athletic. “If something were to break and we say, ‘Hey, these five are clearly different from the other five,’ then we could go in that direction.”
McDaniels thinks their offensive line did well in run and pass protection.
“I also think they did a lot of good things in the game that gave us opportunities to make plays both in the running game and in the passing game,” McDaniels. “We can blitz pickup better; we had a couple issues with our backs just in terms of overall protection. We had a couple things where we were trying to help the protection and didn’t do it necessarily the way that we wanted. And then we had a couple of issues where we probably could’ve got the ball out a little quicker based on something that was available to us. I’ve always believed that protection is a team thing; it’s not just on the offensive line.”
Regarding sacks that Derek Carr could’ve avoided by releasing the ball quicker, McDaniels believes there are certain nuances that go into playcalling and quarterback decision-making.
“I think there’s really kind of an art in terms of trying to figure out at what point do you go ahead and do that,” McDaniels said. “Not only the quarterback, but also maybe the way you call the game. There’s a feeling during the drive. If the rush is fresh, maybe we don’t do that as much. If the rush is a little tired, maybe we do it more. And then the quarterback, obviously, he’s out there; nobody knows and understands the rush and the way the coverage is being played more than he does. Some of the things that you have to do in the passing game — and this takes just games and reps and feeling and understanding — is when to say the play is done. Like, I want it to work. And, ehh, that first read wasn’t there, the second read wasn’t there, you know what? Maybe the situation and the game is such that I just throw the ball away and take an incomplete pass. That happens. … Making those split-second decisions is important and knowing when to do it and not to do it, but it’s not an exact science.”