COSTA MESA – Chargers defensive coordinator Reynaldo Hill was hesitant to say what Nasser Ederle did wrong, possibly because he didn’t want third-year security to stop relying on his instincts.
Adderley could have put his hands up to stop Washington wide receiver Terry McLaurin from completing an acrobatic 37-yard catch last week, but the handicap is 20/20.
Adderley did everything right except to let the ball go through his hands. After McLaurin was freed, he sprang from the opposite side of the field and was in position to make an interception near the edge. But somehow Taylor Heinicke’s pass found a window through Adderley’s arms before joining up with McLaurin for an unrealistic catch.
“I would love for him to go to the high point of the ball and try to put his hand on his head,” Hill said. “It is an improvement we can make. He is playing faster and harder and reaching the ball, we know good things are going to happen and we will get more opportunities in that.”
Adderley and the rest of the Chargers’ defensive back will see several similar opportunities against the near-happy Dallas Cowboys at Sophie Stadium on Sunday.
Cowboys quarterback Duck Prescott picked up where he left off before an ankle injury forced him to miss the final 11 games of the 2020 season. Prescott completed 42 of 58 passes for 403 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in Dallas’ season-opening loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week.
Prescott and several of his playmakers, including dynamic wide receivers Amari Cooper and CD Lamb, had no problem moving the ball against a strong defense that led Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl title last season.
The Chargers’ defense isn’t as experienced as the Buccaneers’ defense, but they have a healthy Derwin James to help out young defensive backs like Adderley and rookie cornerback Asante Samuel Jr.
James, who has had multiple roles on the field, will likely help Cooper and Lamb. The former All-Pro safety saw a handful of photos from the slot against the Washington wide receivers last week.
But the Chargers’ secondary could be thin if Adderley (groin) and cornerback Chris Harris Jr (shoulder) are unavailable on Sunday. No player has practiced this week.
The Cowboys are also battling injuries. Cedric Wilson will start as Dallas’ No. 3 wideout as Michael Gallup has been sidelined with a calf injury.
Even without Gallup, the Cowboys’ offense is still one of the most dangerous in the league because of the chemistry a red-hot Prescott has with Cooper and Lamb. Going back to last season, Prescott has covered more than 400 yards in four of his last five matches.
Prescott would probably throw frequently in Samuel’s direction. The Chargers’ second-round rookie cornerback made an impressive start at Washington, despite a costly pass interference penalty early in the game.
“Nothing is too big for this man,” Hill said. “He left the pass interference, backed up and played. It was no big deal in any position. He went in there and he played one hell of a game in the season opener, where he thought, you know, the teams really got him. May try to give too much volume. He was up for it, he was ready to go. So I really enjoyed how he played.”
Chargers cornerback Michael Davis has started several games over the past three seasons, but this is his first season outside cornerback as No. He allowed McLaurin some big plays in his first game as top cornerback, but Chargers coach Brandon Staley was pleased with his overall performance.
“There were some reps that I think from a technical point of view, he could definitely be better,” Staley said. “He went face-to-face with those guys at a high level. If you talk to him, he knows he can play much better, which is exciting. But we’re happy with where he’s progressing.”
The Chargers’ secondary is inexperienced outside James and Harris, but full of potential. He will need to show that ability against Prescott and his many weapons on Sunday.
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If the Cowboys decide to re-throw the ball 58 times, it’s not an issue for Chargers edge rusher Joy Bosa, especially since Dallas is an opening offensive.
Terence Steele would start with the right tackle as L’El Collins was suspended five games for failing to attend seven drug tests.
Bossa said he is not an offensive coach, but indicated that it would be wise for the Cowboys to balance offense with running back Ezekiel Elliot.
“I’ll take it,” said Bossa. “We run to passersby, especially if they’re trailing. Obviously, if you’re throwing it too many times, there will be a lot of quick passes here and there. But after last week, I think they’re going Well, I mean, I don’t know, I’m not an aggressive minded, but I’m sure though, they’re going to bring Zeke into the game and drive him a little bit more, which we have to be prepared for.
“But, I mean, if they pass it, they’ll have to block 50 times, so it’s going to be a good fight.”
james back on practice
James returned to practice as a full participant on Thursday after missing the first day with a toe injury.
Right tackle Brian Bulaga (groin/back) and defensive tackle Justin Jones (calf) missed the second straight practice. Kicker Tristan Vizcano was added to the Week 2 injury report and listed as limited due to illness.
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) September 16, 2021