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  • Erica Blackburn

Washington gets its first real test against Chargers

The Washington Football is looking to start their 2021 season with a bang, and they have a formidable opponent in the Los Angeles Chargers, who many have dubbed a sleeper playoff team.

Last season, Washington went 7-9, won the division, and hosted a playoff game. On the other hand, Los Angeles went 7-9 and missed the playoffs together. Though the Chargers have had their misfortunes in the past, they still have the talent to contend with anyone. But it will be tough to get a beat on this Charger team because it’s the first game under a new regime in Los Angeles.

“Week one is always tough,” said quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. “And then when it's a new staff, new defense, we're getting familiar with their players, but we're also trying to get familiar with their scheme and the different places that he's been. It's a lot of different things and a lot of different teams and film.”

Getting familiar with their players will have to be first on the docket for Washington’s staff. Number on that list should be quarterback Justin Herbert, who was a godsend last season. Herbert is looking to build off a sensational rookie season, in which he threw for 4,336 yards, 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

“What he did last year was ridiculous,” said Fitzpatrick. “You're not supposed to come in as a rookie and look that polished and play that well, be that composed. . . I think he's kind of got all those tools physically and then all the intangibles as well. He did a great job last year and you know, it just, for me watching some of these young guys come in and you know him last year, I Marvel at how mature they are, how NFL ready they are right away. What a great job that he did.”

The Chargers also have real weapons on offense with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and newly signed Jared Cook. "Well, (they) got skilled players at every position,” said Rivera. “You feel good about who they are if you're them and last year they were very productive as an offense. A lot of it starts with the quarterback."

On defense, the Chargers pose a threat as well, starting with All-Pro defensive end Joey Bosa. "I think he's got great first step quickness,” said Rivera. “He gets vertical very quickly and puts a lot of pressure on the tackles. That's part of his game, is to put pressure on the tackle.

According to Fitzpatrick, the key for Washington on offense is to get first downs and execute. “Just continue to get first downs and go out there and execute,” said Fitzpatrick. “There's not really a special formula, it's going out there and just piecing those first downs. And for us and for young teams, confidence is always a big thing. So going out there confident, having a good week of practice and knowing that you're going to be able to carry that over to the game.”

The Washington Football kick off their season against the Los Angeles Chargers at FedExField on Sunday, September 12th at 1p ET.

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