LA Chargers News

3 reasons why the Chargers will end the Raiders season on Sunday Night Football

William Akers
Las Vegas Raiders v Los Angeles Chargers
Las Vegas Raiders v Los Angeles Chargers / Harry How/GettyImages
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Derwin James, Darren Waller
Las Vegas Raiders v Los Angeles Chargers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

2. Derwin James is back and will shutdown Darren Waller...again

Anyone that claims Derwin James is not the best safety in the NFL is kidding themselves. The 4th year pro out of Florida State is having his best season in the league and should be getting more respect in the Comeback Player of the Year discussion. Derwin is the Chargers' ultimate weapon and given his versatility, I figure he'll play a big role in sending the Chargers to the playoffs. James is the signal-caller wearing the green dot for head coach Brandon Staley's defense and occupies many positions in his scheme.

During his first year in Staley's defense, Derwin has spent time as the free safety, dime linebacker, outside pass rusher and slot corner. Widely renowned as one of the best DB's when it comes to covering tight ends, I expect Staley to deploy James onto the Raiders' most explosive weapon, Darren Waller.

Waller has missed five consecutive games following an injury he sustained on Thanksgiving against the Dallas Cowboys, however is expected to return to the field on Sunday night according to Rich Bisaccia.

During the teams' first matchup back in October, Waller racked up a modest stat line of four catches for 50 yards on seven targets, however did snag a touchdown pass. During the game, Waller was covered (for the most part) by Chargers corner Michael Davis, with occasional coverage by Derwin James, safety Nasir Adderley and others when in zone coverage packages. Davis was successful in his individual coverage throughout the game, however, the much smaller Adderley struggled with Waller's size and athleticism, conceding the touchdown pass to Waller in the 3rd quarter.

When James had one on one man coverage snaps against Waller, Carr targeted his tight end only twice, throwing one incompletion and one interception. If any NFL defender can neutralize one of the league's best targets, it's certainly #33 in the powder blue.

James' success when covering against TEs has been one of the strong suits so far in his career with the Chargers, and the absence of him doing so is quite evident when analyzing Brandon Staley's defense.

Derwin has missed 2.5 of the last 4 games with a nagging hamstring injury, but having him back at full strength will be a massive bonus for the defensive game plan.

Despite Davis' success against Waller in the first game, the Chargers de fatco #1 corner has been very inconsistent this year, and is coming off a poor game against the Denver Broncos. Expect Staley to throw a different look at the Raiders and have Derwin cover Waller in most passing situations. Doing this should minimize the ability for Waller to have a big game, taking a massive part out of the Las Vegas offence, and propelling the Chargers defence towards a successful day and a victory.

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