Officials keeping an eye on air quality in Oakland
The Chargers are sure they’ll play the Raiders on Sunday. They’re not sure where they’ll play them.
As fires in Northern California’s wine country continue to burn, air quality concerns in the Bay Area have the NFL monitoring the situation.
There is a possibility the game could be relocated.
“As far as I know, we’re going up to Oakland,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said Thursday before practice. “We’re playing up there. I know they have fires up there and the air’s polluted. But will it be clean by the time we play? I don’t know.”
Playing in Oakland seems like the most realistic option despite conditions that had some Raiders players wearing masks over their mouths during their practice Thursday.
Moving the game is complicated for a number of reasons.
The game needs to be played in an NFL-equipped venue, one set up for the league’s broadcasters and instant replay systems. The teams can’t swap home games because the Galaxy have a match scheduled for Sunday at StubHub Center.
The teams can’t play on Monday night because the Raiders are already scheduled for a short week with a game against the Kansas City Chiefs set for Thursday.
Options such as the San Francisco 49ers home, Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, or the Coliseum in Los Angeles could host a game on short notice. The mayor of San Diego even volunteered the city’s hospitality.
Moving games because of conditions isn’t unprecedented. In 2003, fires in San Diego County forced the team to play Miami in Arizona. In 2014, a snowstorm moved a Jets-Bills game to Detroit.
Players discussed the possibility of playing in an alternate venue, though they insisted that chatter doesn’t affect their preparation.
“It’s not affecting me at all,” Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa said.
The assumption by many is the NFL would have to announce a venue change by Friday morning at the latest.
“We’re just getting ready to play in Oakland,” Lynn said. “If they make us play somewhere else, we’ll do that.”
Momentum for firstround pick Mike Williams continues to build, as Lynn continued to say Williams’ practice workload will increase.
But Williams, who has been out with a lower back injury essentially since he was drafted No. 7, still hasn’t been listed as a full participant in a practice.
His status for Sunday’s game with the Raiders will be determined Friday, Lynn said.
“His role [in practice] is still limited,” Lynn said. “The guy hasn’t played football since January, so I’m not just going to throw him in there his first day in full pads.”
If Williams can play against the Raiders, he won’t be given a full workload.
“It would be a low snap count,” Lynn said. “He’s not ready to play a full game, I don’t believe that. But we’ll have a small role for him.”
The Chargers’ rushing defense, the NFL’s worst, will get tested by one of the NFL’s most physical runners of the last decade in Marshawn Lynch. One player who’d have been of great use Sunday, Denzel Perryman, is on the injured reserve list after preseason ankle surgery. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said Perryman, who can return off injured reserve after the team’s game in New England in Week 8, is looking like he’ll be ready. “You see him moving around a little more,” Bradley said. “I don’t know when we’re gonna get him back, but he’s starting now to tap me on the shoulder about trying to get in there, so I know he’s getting close.” … Chargers starting right tackle Joe Barksdale, who was limited in Wednesday’s practice, didn’t participate in Thursday’s fullpadded workout. … Wide receiver Dontrelle Inman (hamstring) was upgraded to a full participant Thursday.
CHARGERS DEFENSIVE END Joey Bosa reaches to recover a fumble against the Giants. Bosa says talk of relocating Sunday’s game isn’t affecting him.