COSTA MESA — The connection shared between Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, and receiver Davante Adams has not been seen on the professional level.
It was last seen at the Las Vegas Bowl in 2013 when USC blew out Fresno State, 45-20. Neither played in the Raiders’ preseason games last month, so Sunday will be the first time they log meaningful snaps together again.
There are questions about whether their chemistry will click right away or whether it will take some time to adjust to each other.
Chargers defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill has no such questions because he has witnessed this duo.
“I saw the chemistry live and upfront,” Hill said. “I don’t think that’s going to be a problem with them two meshing because they were dynamic then, and I’m sure that they are much more experienced now. They are going to be ready.”
In 2013, Hill was the cornerbacks coach at the University of Wyoming, and in week 10, they faced Fresno State. Carr threw for 360 yards and four touchdowns, and Adams had 11 catches for 79 yards and one touchdown.
“You wanted to close your eyes at times,” Hill said amid laughter.
The Chargers’ defensive coordinator described it as a “horror film.”
Carr and Adams connected on 131 passes for 1,719 yards and 24 touchdowns that season. Those are video game-esque numbers.
“This is a different group that we have, as well, and I’m confident in the guys we have,” Hill said. “We just have to go out and play our game.”
Carr and Adams reunited during the offseason when the Raiders acquired Adams in a trade with the Green Bay Packers. They have worked out together and practiced during training camp.
The Raiders held a joint practice with the New England Patriots, and many reports came said the Patriots’ defensive backs couldn’t keep up with Adams and the ball never hit the field when thrown his way.
“Davante is one of the elite special players in the league,” Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said. “I was able to compete against him in Chicago, and then at Denver. I think he has the full respect of every coach and player in the league, and fan.”
Staley and Hill are joined at the hip when it comes to the defense, and they are in constant communication during games. On Sunday, communication will begin as soon as they see how the Raiders’ first possession goes.
“We have to make sure we do a good job of trying to move the down around, and once the game is taking place, we have to be able to make early adjustments,” Hill said.
Usually, adjustments are made at halftime, but the defense will quickly adjust to whatever the Raiders’ offense shows them.
What also adds to the mystique is that this will be the first time the NFL sees Josh McDaniels’ offense in his second stint as a head coach.
An offense that was already tough enough to cover last season adds a different offensive scheme and a superstar receiver.
“It definitely is because they already have premium number ones at that position with (Hunter) Renfrow and (Darren) Waller,” Hill said of the receiver and tight end. “Now, you add Adams into the picture, it’s a lot of things to cover for our end.”
The Chargers’ defense will be challenged right away, having to analyze the Raiders’ new look and weapon and adjust as quickly as possible.
“I was excited just for the opportunity to compete against anybody,” safety Derwin James said. “For me, I just wanted to come out and just compete. To have it be the Raiders, I’m excited for that.”
NUTS N’ BOLTS
Cornerback J.C. Jackson (ankle) and tight end Donald Parham (hamstring) did not practice, but running back Isaiah Spiller (ankle) was listed as a full participant on the injury report.