COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers face a familiar scenario for the second straight game, preparing for an athletic but inexperienced quarterback.
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After facing Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes last week, the Chargers will go up against Buffalo’s Josh Allen, who will be making his first NFL start Sunday.
Coach Anthony Lynn and members of the Chargers secondary say they don’t see much alteration of the game plan with the Bills going to their rookie, who was the seventh overall pick in this year’s draft.
“When preparing against someone like that, you are not going to change too much. You watch the tape, look at the tendencies when making certain throws and go off on that,” safety Adrian Phillips said.
The Chargers are preparing for Allen the same way they did with Mahomes, which is breaking down his college tape and preseason game.
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Safety Derwin James said the biggest thing that surprised him watching Allen was that he was better than he thought as a runner. Allen was sacked three times in last Sunday’s 47-3 loss to Baltimore but did have four rushes for 26 yards.
Lynn said he expects a healthy amount of run-pass option plays for Allen.
“He can run the zone read. Two of those were designed quarterback runs so he can move. You are going to have some of the same issues (as last week),” he said.
The Chargers are hoping to have better success than they had last week, when Mahomes threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-28 Chiefs win. A big reason for Mahomes’ success was that the Chargers were unable to get much pressure up front. Los Angeles had just one sack and seven defensive hurries on 29 drop backs last Sunday.
Los Angeles is likely to be without two defensive line starters again. Defensive end Joey Bosa is seeking a second opinion on his injured left foot and defensive tackle Corey Liuget is serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
“I think you have to pick your moments in the game where you want to make him uncomfortable,” Lynn said. “It’s a chess game there, when you pressure and when you don’t. But we definitely want him to go through some of his progressions.”.
The Chargers allowed four pass plays of 20 yards or more and a league-high 249 yards after the catch last week. James said a huge emphasis this week will be on preventing long completions.
“He has a big arm and likes the deep ball throws. We will have to stay back and do a good job of playing the ball in the air,” he said.
The Chargers are 3-0 since the 1970 merger when facing a rookie first-round quarterback who is making his first start. The last time they faced a Bills first-time starter it also went well as they picked off Nathan Peterman five times in the first half in a 54-24 win in Week 11 last season.
“We were hitting on all cylinders that day, getting good pressure on the quarterback and turning the ball over,” Lynn said. “But that was last year. We’re both 0-1 and need a win.”.
Notes: This will be Lynn’s first game in Buffalo since he was the Bills’ running backs coach for two seasons (2015-16). He also was the interim head coach for the final game in 2016. “I feel good about going back there but it’s just another game,” he said. … Besides Bosa, offensive tackle Joe Barksdale (knee), wide receiver Travis Benjamin (foot) and cornerback Craig Mager (hamstring) did not practice.
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