There’s an abundance of fresh faces in the Los Angeles Chargers lineup.
There’s likewise a fresh Bolts pass-rushing tandem that portends to be a fearsome one-two punch for opposing offenses to contend with.
In his debut as Las Vegas Raiders head coach, Josh McDaniels has the unenviable task of being the first to game plan against the Chargers’ new daunting duo of Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack .
“It’s not easy. They’re two incredible football players,” McDaniels said in his Tuesday news conference. “And, again, I could say that about a lot of guys on their team. They have a tremendous amount of talent. This is probably one of the most talented teams we’re gonna play all year — if not the most talented.”
Bosa led the 2021 Chargers with 10.5 sacks, but it was more than double any other teammate.
Enter Mack, a three-time All-Pro with 76.5 career sacks.
Though Mack is coming off an injury-shortened season, his resume speaks for itself. Bosa and Mack have combined for 10 Pro Bowl selections, they each have four seasons with 10-plus sacks since 2015 (which is tied for fourth in the league, per NFL Research), and, since 2016, Bosa (92.7) and Mack (92.5) have two of the top-three Pro Football Focus pass rush grades.
“I’ve competed against both of them multiple times — and thankfully, never on the same field at the same time,” McDaniels said. “So you could kind of put maybe more attention to one than the other, if you will.”
That luxury no longer exists, as Bosa and Mack will be teaming up to take down Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on Sunday. McDaniels didn’t unveil how the Raiders will look to scheme against the Bosa-Mack conundrum, but he did offer that there will be no easy way out, nor shortcuts home to a victory.
“You’ve got to do a good job. There’s no shortcuts around this one. You know?” McDaniels said. “You’ve got to do a good job of using your techniques and playing with good fundamentals. We have to do a good job of trying to get the ball out on time, when we’re supposed to. And you pick your spots when you’re going to try to do something and hold the ball a little longer, what have you, based on the play you’re trying to accomplish.”
In an all-star-laden AFC West that is prognosticated to be the top division in the NFL, the new-look Raiders (see additions of Davante Adams and Chandler Jones) will get the first glimpse of the new-look Chargers (see additions of Mack, J.C. Jackson, Sebastian Joseph-Day). They’ll likely need to double-team, get help from tight ends and backs, Carr will need to deliver in quick fashion and the receivers are going to need to be fast and crisp off the line.
“This is a big challenge,” McDaniels said. “They present a lot of issues offensively on their own, and so seeing them on the same field, obviously, will be difficult. But we’re hard at work trying to figure out how to create some offense against their whole group. But they’ll definitely be a challenge.”
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