Who's the Guy?
Justin Herbert is a top 5 quarterback with prototypical physical dimensions, A-plus arm talent and outstanding athleticism. The fourth-year pro is playing the best football of his career with a completion rate (74.4%) and passer rating (112.9) that is significantly better than his career averages (67.4% and 97.2 QBR) in those categories. Considering his efficiency and effectiveness in slinging the ball all over the yard, the fourth-year pro is pushing to win MVP honors with his scintillating play from the pocket.
Know His Name
Joey Bosa could make a push for Defensive Player of the Year honors if the Chargers defense significantly improves throughout the season. Despite facing double teams and chip blocks on passing downs, the veteran has three sacks and is a persistent pest for quarterbacks off the edges. Given Bosa's 63.5 sacks in 87 games, the Raiders must monitor No. 97's whereabouts on every down.
Don't Sleep On…
Tuli Tuipulotu has given the Chargers another dynamic pass rusher within the rotation. The rookie has tallied a pair of sacks in three games, displaying a combination of strength, power and explosiveness that overwhelms opponents on the edges. With Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa commanding attention as Pro Bowl-caliber pass rushers, the Chargers' 2023 second-round pick has exceeded expectations through the season's first quarter.
With Mike Williams landing on IR, the Chargers will need Quentin Johnston to make critical contributions as he steps into the WR2/WR3 role. The rookie is averaging just 5.2 yards per catch on five receptions but entered the league regarded as an explosive deep ball threat based on his work at TCU. Johnston averaged 19.0 yards per catch over three seasons with the Horned Frogs, which reflects his big play ability as a vertical threat.
Matchup to Watch
Trey Pipkins vs. Maxx Crosby
The Chargers will attempt to provide Pipkins with plenty of assistance on the edges, but the veteran must hold his own against the Pro Bowl pass rusher on occasion to enable the team to release five eligible pass catchers into the route. The fifth-year pro is a crafty edge blocker with a bag full of tricks, but the one-on-one matchup against Crosby tilts in the Raiders' favor if the Chargers attempt to play the Pro Bowler one-on-one on key downs.
New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has added some flash to an offense that was already a big play machine with Herbert at the helm. The creative playcaller has added more shifts and motions to the playbook to create and exploit favorable matchups on the perimeter. With Moore also mixing in enough runs to force defensive coordinators to defend a multi-dimensional attack, the Chargers can drop a 30-burger on any opponent when the quarterback is in rhythm.
The defense has struggled defending the run and the deep ball, which is problematic for a unit that cannot keep scores down. If Brandon Staley can't fix the Chargers' most significant issues throughout the practice week, the Raiders should be able to feed Josh Jacobs early and often as part of a run-centric game plan that enables them to control the clock for four quarters.
View the best photos from Thursday's practice at Intermountain Health Performance Center as the Raiders prepare for their Week 4 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers.