Cowboys take aim at Justin Herbert, Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers can start a season 2-0 for the first time since 2012 when they play host to the Dallas Cowboys in their home opener at Inglewoood, Calif., on Sunday afternoon.At Washington in Week 1, the Chargers escaped with a 20-16 road victory over the Washington Football Team. Quarterback Justin Herbert threw for 337 yards and a touchdown pass to Mike Williams.One of Herbert’s few blemishes was an interception corralled by Washington cornerback William Jackson III in which he tried to force a ball to tight end Stephen Jackson near the end zone. A review of the game film led Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy to implement “jumpball drills” in practice for his defensive back, noting Herbert’s penchant for throwing “50-50 balls.”Dallas won the turnover battle at Tampa Bay last Thursday in the NFL opener but lost to the Buccaneers on a last-second field goal.The Chargers were particularly effective on third down last week.L.A. converted 14-of-19 third down attempts. The 14 third-down conversions were the most by any team in the last decade in a single game. That number included Herbert and L.A.’s offense converting four straight third downs to seal the victory at the end of the game.”Third down is so much about keeping yourself protected in this league, understanding your protection plan, and then knowing the coverages that you’re going to face,” Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said. “And when it does get tight, where am I going with the football? I felt like we had a really good third down plan. We’ve got tough receivers to defend on third down.”The Chargers could be without right tackle Bryan Bulaga (back) and safety Nasir Adderley (groin). Neither practiced Wednesday.Edge rusher Kyler Fackrell (knee) cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (shoulder) and defensive tackle Justin Jones (calf) also missed Wednesday’s practice for the Chargers.The Chargers won the last meeting between the two teams, a 28-6 humbling of the Cowboys in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day in 2017. The Bolts have won their last three matchups with the Cowboys. However, Dallas holds a 6-5 edge in the all-time series.While Dallas hones in on Herbert, the Chargers expect everything they can handle from Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.In his first game back from a gruesome, season-ending leg injury last year, Prescott threw for 403 yards and three touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 31-29 road loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.