Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels is ready to make his regular-season debut for the Silver and Black in the team’s unofficial second home, SoFi Stadium. Looking ahead to the Week 1 clash between McDaniels’ squad and their AFC West rivals, the Los Angeles Chargers, the new shot-caller for the Raiders touched on a few topics while talking to the media. Among them was the Chargers’ secondary.
The Chargers have gone through some changes over the last few offseasons, slowly revamping their secondary. Picking up players such as Derwin James back in 2018, then, Asante Samuel Jr. and J.C. Jackson over a short period of time has given head coach Brandon Staley and defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill a vaunted defensive backfield. While speaking with reporters today, McDaniels had much to say about this impressive unit that’s looking to shut down his loaded offense. With regard to Samuel, the Raiders head coach recalls coaching his father when he was getting his career started with the Patriots.
“Yeah, he reminds me of his dad. I was actually on the defensive side when we drafted Asante (Sr.) in New England, so I spent a lot of time with Asante. Obviously, a great player and a guy that made a lot of impactful plays. And so, he’s taught his son well. He’s got quick feet. He sees and diagnoses things very quickly when he’s around the ball. He’s got great ball skills like a receiver, as his dad did.”
Josh McDaniels is familiar with Asante Samuel’s style of play, will it help?
It certainly bodes well for McDaniels that he once coached Samuel’s father. Having been in that position to teach the elder Samuel, McDaniels recognizes the Chargers’ cornerback’s game. He resembles his father in many ways, including his quick feet and movement, overall awareness, and play recognition. McDaniels knows this won’t be a cakewalk for whoever No. 26 is assigned to cover.
“He’s very quick twitch at the top of your stems and those types of things to match routes very well. So, our guys have been hard at work studying him and the rest of their secondary, but no question that he’s got a bright future in front of him.”
Samuel already has 11 pass deflections to his name, along with a pair of interceptions and a tackle for a loss. He’s just one of the many playmakers that the Chargers possess in their secondary. Speaking of secondary, another Chargers defender was recently in the news, and for good reason, as he heaped praise on Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. McDaniels also mentioned him. We’re referring to All-Pro safety, Derwin James.