By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com

As a reminder, the Los Angeles Chargers open Training Camp for the 2021 season next week at Jack Hammett Sports Complex at 2750 Fairview Rd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626). Bolts fans can attend Training Camp by pre-registering for their free tickets at chargers.com/camp. Just weeks ago, the team finally met their new coaching staff in person during their Mini Camp. Players left Mini Camp enthusiastic about their upcoming season. This article will revisit the player’s thoughts from time with the new coaching staff and their takeaways from Mini Camp.

As you may have imagined, things change coming into a new season, not only will the Chargers have to get prepared for a new season, they have to get used to an entirely new coaching staff. For Justin Herbert, that means learning a new set of plays coming of one of the most impressive rookie seasons in the league’s history. When last season’s NFL Rookie of the Year, Justin Herbert, was asked about this new offense, he responded by saying, “There’s a lot about it. There are a lot of plays that are put on the quarterback going up there and making a call based on the defense. That’s something that we’re going to keep developing and keep getting better at — especially being able to go against the defense these past couple of weeks. I think it’s just an offense that takes advantage of the skilled players and getting the ball to [WR] Keenan Allen, [WR] Mike Williams and [RB] Aueler. That’s really important for us.” Herbert was also asked about the installation of their new offense, “The plan was to kind of put everything in the first couple of days. It seemed like a lot. After a couple of practices, it really gets up on your back. I had a tough time going through that, but as the days go long and you get to go through it, it seems less and less. That mentality of everything is put on you, you get to battle through it, and you’re going to make mistakes, but you’re going to learn from it.”

Justin also talked about the flexibility of the offense he stated that “I think one of the advantages is being able to get to any play and knowing the personnel and the plays that you can get to — against a specific look, we’re not going to run this, we’re going to get to something else. Having that mastered, I think that’s huge because you can go against any defense. I think the tough part is memorizing and learning it all. That’s where it’s tough because you have to go in there and spend a lot of time watching the film, practicing and repping it.”

Herbert will have a lot on his plate coming into this season. He talked about how his relationship with the new Head Coach will be critical to the team’s development. When asked about his relationship Justin talked about Coach Staley has gone about developing their continuity, “He’s done a great job of that. All of the defensives looks that they have; they hold their disguise so well, and they’re always showing [coverage] shell. It puts the offense in a tough position because everything looks the same, and you’re not able to pick up where the pressure is coming from, where to slide to and who to point. Just seeing all of that, it doesn’t get much more complicated than that, so I have appreciated that.”

Even though he had a Pro Bowl season, Joey Bosa suffered a couple of concussions and a tricep injury last season, yet he says confidently, “there are no effects that I’ve been dealing with or anything. I’m feeling good. Nothing, lingering from last year.” Chargers fans should be happy to hear this!

Bosa also talked about the relationships Coach Staley is building with his team and how their initial interaction went, “He gets to be the head guy and run things exactly how he wants to. He wanted us to know how confident he is in us as players and how much he trusts us. He’s open to talking and suggestions. It’s a great relationship that he’s building so far.”

Coming off his injury-riddled season where he’s played the least number of games in his 4-year career, Chargers Running Back Austin Ekeler shared his thoughts on this new-look offense. “It’s been great. It’s been great to be just in an offseason. Last year we didn’t have this, so it’s been great to build and have an opportunity to build chemistry with the team, especially because we have a lot of new signees on the offense this year — especially the offensive line. They all stick together, and they all have a lot of different personalities. It’s always a good time to be on the field with the boys, especially this year, too, with new faces, to meet new people and learn about some other people and what they’ve been doing.” About the new offense that they are implementing, Austin says, “It’s getting us, as playmakers, in spots to make plays — I love that. I can emphasize in trying to get me the ball, which I’m always on board for, getting me in a spot where I can make more plays, and putting our other players in spots to do the same. It’s been, obviously, a learning curve just from being in a similar offense for the past four years and now trying to learn a new offense. That’s what the offseason is for.”

A common theme from the players and coaches alike this off-season has been the relationship-building process. Ekeler commented on this aspect of his new Head Coach Brandon Staley and how it’s impacted him by stating, “the first time I spoke to him was a couple of days after he got hired, he called me and wanted to talk about, just, life. I thought that was special because getting to know someone and getting to see their values helps me connect, it helps everyone connect. As far as wanting to play for this person and care about what they are saying. I think that’s been a big emphasis for coach. I always see him on the field talking to players… creating that connection! Austin added, “We’re a team, and we’re going to be around each other a long time. If we can play and create that chemistry, it gives us more of a reason to play for each other!”

Once again, the Chargers report for Training Camp on July 27th camp and will take the field for the first time at 9:00 am Wednesday, July 28th. On July 31st, the Bolts will celebrate NFL Training Camp: Back Together Saturday. Which will include a special giveaway for fans in attendance. Additionally, fans will enjoy expert commentary on practice from members of the Chargers’ radio broadcast team. Be sure to pre-register for free tickets at www.chargers.com/camp.

For those paying attention, Head Coach Brandon Staley is giving team leaders all across Southern California and the National Football League a lesson on team building and gaining the confidence of his team. Though we’ve yet to see this team building put up notches in the win column, one thing is for sure, it is tough to win anything, at any level, if your team is not unified and working together. It’s going to be very intriguing to see how this newfound unity plays out on the field.

Players speaking on Coach Brandon Staley’s focused on his investment in them as people, in this team-building process is evident in the how the player feels. We’ve now have heard Bosa and Ekeler speak on this part of the process. Kindly share your thoughts on Coach Staley and how this team building will improve this franchise in the immediate future. You can reach out to me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport or shoot me an email at info@whatsgoodinsports.com. I encourage you to forward any suggestions on what topics or angles about this new version of the Los Angeles Chargers you would like to see discussed this season.

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