AFC Notes: Chargers, Raiders, Steelers

     

Chargers

  • Daniel Popper of The Athletic believes 2021 will be the “decisive season” for Chargers HC Anthony Lynn and GM Tom Telesco with the organization but being able to finish 8-8 this year would “alleviate some pressure next season.” 
  • Popper writes that the Chargers must be in contention for the 2021 postseason “at the very minimum” in order for Lynn and Telesco to retain their jobs past 2022.
  • Popper could see Lynn and Telesco staying with the Chargers if they finish 9-7 without a playoff appearance in 2021, but reaching the playoffs would “solidify” their job security. 
  • Regarding Chargers RB Kalen Ballage‘s potentially increased workload, Popper points out that Lynn typically uses the “hot hand” at running back. 
  • Although Popper believes Chargers RB Joshua Kelley has not been efficient since struggling with fumbles earlier this season, he could see RB Troymaine Pope (neck) getting the edge over Ballage if he’s able to play in Week 10. 

Raiders

Raiders’ rookie WR Henry Ruggs said he must improve on keeping his feet inbounds on sideline passes. 

I’ve got two catches I caught out of bounds so I’ve got to work on getting two feet in,” Ruggs said, via Vic Tafur. “I’m not in college anymore.”  

Raiders OC Greg Olson said he wants Ruggs to continue working on his “route running and consistency.”

“Route running, to be honest with you,” Olson said. “We love the speed factor, it’s something you can’t coach. But the route running and consistency that we want to see him bring to the game … he’s just finishing up outside here with him working the toe-touches, the toe-drags on the sidelines.”

Ruggs reiterated that he is working on his route running every day.

“I’ve been working on it day in, day out,” Ruggs said. 

Steelers

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger said he is feeling great after taking the week off from practice while on the COVID-19 list. 

“I’m doing great,” Roethlisberger said, via ProFootballTalk.  “My body enjoyed the week off. My mind from teaching pre-K did not enjoy the week off. It was fun to be home with them, but I definitely missed the guys.”

Roethlisberger admitted it was different being in the COVID-19 protocols than the years he was on the injured reserve. 

“Yeah, it’s definitely different than in years past [when he was injured] just because, typically, I’ve been on the field behind the quarterbacks hearing the calls that were made, hearing the play call coming from the coach, [Maurkice] Pouncey’s calls,” Roethlisberger said. “As coach Tomlin would say, an in-helmet perspective. Even if you’re not out there, you can hear it and be a part of it, so it was definitely different. I watched every play of practice, but you just watch it on your iPad at home so you don’t get to hear all those things. It was definitely a lot different than anything I have experienced before.”

Roethlisberger said that he was cautious about potentially spreading the virus around his home. 

“You’re always nervous,” Roethlisberger said. “My wife, we slept in opposite rooms. Things like that. My wife said, I don’t care if we get it, but we don’t want our kids to get it. You always care more about your kids than you care about yourself or anyone. We’ve been as safe as we can possibly be at home, I think.”

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said they intend on giving Roethlisberger an “extended walk-through” on Saturday to prepare for Sunday’s game. s

“If he comes off the protocol,” Tomlin said. “We’re going to have an extended walk-through tomorrow just to give him an in-helmet perspective on some of the situational things to put the finishing touches on our work, to allow him to work with the eligibles he worked with in game, to have any necessary informal conversations that allow us to have a level of comfort as we push into play.”

  • According to Jay Glazer, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger did “extended work” in Saturday’s practice to catch up with their Week 10 gameplan. Glazer adds that Roethlisberger’s knee is doing “much better” after a week of rest. 

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