The Los Angeles Chargers are looking to build upon their momentum from last year. They are led by a quarterback going into his fourth year in Justin Herbert and have a core of veteran talent.
During their training camp session on August 2, the defense flaunted not only their talent, but their communication skills.
“I think the guys have really come out with good energy. I think that they are playing together. The play style, that’s what we’re after, I think we’re getting that from the group,” said Chargers head coach Brandon Staley. “I think that group is playing together well, which we need to, especially with who you have to defend every single day.”
Corner Asante Samuel jr. has been tasked with learning how to play at the slot corner. Samuel defended 11 passes last season, coming in second in the team.
“They want me to learn both of the positions because you never know how the season goes,” Samuel jr. said. “Wherever the coaches want me to play, that’s where I’ll play. It’s a team game. Whatever helps the team, that’s what I want to do.”
Linebacker Eric Kendricks brings a wealth of skills and knowledge to the Bolts’ defense. Last season, he made a career-high of 87 solo tackles. Staley noted how him signing with the Bolts was “the perfect fit.”
“He has all of the intangibles that you’re looking for in a commander in the middle; the poise, the communication skills, the confidence, the play style,” Staley said. “Then, just as a linebacker, he’s a very complete player; key-diagnose, concept-trigger, open-field tackle, box tackler, passing-game blitzer. He just brings a lot to the table.”
Tight end Gerald Everett averaged 9.6 yards per catch last season. He also helped the Rams reach Super Bowl LIII.
“He’s one of those play-style guys that we need. He’s a big-time weapon for us, a play-maker,” Staley said. “It makes us very tough to defend when you have a tight end who can separate and win 1-on-1 against linebackers or safeties or even corners. He is outstanding after the catch.”
During the offseason, the Bolts signed Kellen Moore to be their offensive coordinator. Wide receiver Mike Williams gave Moore high praise.
“He’s young, knows how to get us the ball and how to move us all around, getting everyone involved,” Williams said. “That’s the main thing; defense is sometimes keying in on certain players so you’ve got to adjust, and he does a good job of putting us in certain spots so the defense can’t key on us. That’s a big thing.”
Chargers rookie linebacker Daiyan Henley made positive contributions on special teams. Staley noted how Henley has good mentors at the linebacker position to help him develop.
“He’s doing an outstanding job on special teams. We’re going to count on him in special teams. He just needs to continue to see more,” Staley said. “He has a lot of ability and the toughness, the play-style, that we’re looking for. He is going to have some days that he doesn’t have his best stuff because he’s just young … but he has all of the things that we’re looking for. He’s having a good camp for us.”