By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com

Though it’s way too early for us to make any definite assertions about this rookie class for the Chargers. As we only saw them stretching for one and walking through their position drills for one-hour last week. If you know anything about the sport of football, things change when they put on pads for the first time and they have grown men line up opposite them. 

As this new coaching staff unites with its young rookies, Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley said, “I feel like a coach for the first time since January.” He also made it clear during his media availability session, that the purpose of this Rookie Mini Camp, “This is a teaching camp. It’s a teaching, learning few days.” When asked what stood out to him today, he went on to say, “Felt like the pace of practice stood out to me. Felt like, operationally, there was good tempo. There was good organization. People were confident in where they were supposed to be and what they were supposed to be doing when they got there. Felt like our coaches and our sports performance staff did a really good job of outlining the expectations for the practice. Felt like our transitions were smooth, for being a first-time operation. Then, our coaches did a really good job of outlining the drills.” 

Throughout his media availability session, Coach Staley talked about instilling confidence in the players. Understanding that he also prides himself as a teacher, I was curious to hear his strategy for instilling confidence in the players and he responded by saying this, “You have to show them what’s expected of them. You have to show them exactly what the expectations are for whatever it is, whether it’s something schematically, something from a fundamental standpoint. If they can see it and they know exactly what the expectation is, then you can create a standard that they can set in order to reach it.” 

Though Coach Staley has an extensive vocabulary, which he uses frequently. His use of witty, one-liners is extremely impressive, I’ve already cited a few of them. However, another line that I feel people from all walks of life, regardless of their profession can take from his media availability session, “I feel like confidence comes from preparation!” He went on to add, “Confidence comes from knowing 

that you’re surrounded by really, really special people. I felt like I had a lot of confidence going into today.” 

We also got a chance to talk to their first-round draft pick Offensive Tackle Rashawn Slater. I was very interested in how his preparation for the moment showed itself along with how he adapting to learning at this level. Slater responded by telling me, “I pride myself on being coachable and accepting the feedback. That’s how it showed today.” 

I was also interested to hear which areas for improvement he identified, “It was a pretty short practice out there today with a lot of emphasis on the run stuff. So, that was about it [for today].” 

Their second-round draft pick Asante Samuels Jr. has received pro bowl caliber training from his Super Bowl winning father. I wanted to know from him if sought out training advice from anyone else, Samuels Jr revealed that he’d been training with Bret Callaway with EXOS in Dallas, Texas. He also said “They have great strength and conditioning coach over there. The [physical therapists] — I feel like it’s the best training facility in the country. It helped me through the pre-draft process. I appreciate them for everything they did.” 

I was curious to hear from him, what message he had for Los Angeles Chargers fans about the type of player he was going to see. He responded by saying “They’re going to get my all every single play. Mentally and physically. I’m going to put everything into this because this is what I’ve been dreaming for my whole life. Just, basically, 100 percent effort. I can’t promise everything but giving my all every play.” 

We also spoke to Wide Receiver Josh Palmer their #77 draft pick, I was curious to hear from him about his transition to the So Cal market and the Chargers, “The past two weeks since I’ve been drafted, I’ve really just been working out. That hasn’t changed. The only thing that has changed now is me being here. In the transition, just learning the city, knowing how to get from one meeting room to the dining hall; that’s quite troublesome, just learning the hallways of this place.” When asked about what surprised him about the West Coast he told us that, “I thought it would be a lot hotter. Right now, it’s kind of chilly. Once we’re able to expand a little bit, to see more of the city, you can ask me that question again and I’ll be able to answer it better.” 

Though access has been limited due to this pandemic, once restricted have been I hope to provide you Chargers and NFL fans in-depth insight on the men within the uniform. Let us know some of what you would like to know about these players, by reaching out to me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport or forward any suggestions on what additional topics or angles you’d like to see discussed to info@whatsgoodinsports.com. 

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