With the NFL Draft a little over a week away, 24 teams across the NFL started off season workouts today; the Chargers were one of them. With the heat index high, the bolts took the field for the first time since the end of the 2015 season. The vivid memory of a 4-12 campaign is certainly more than enough motivation to want to turn things around.
In the post-practice press conference QB Philip Rivers lead the way by saying, “It’s good to be back.” Rivers, wearing a “nunc coepi” (Now I begin) cap, was candid about the disappointing record last season and say he’s anxious to get the team together. “This is really is the time when you start to become a team,” says Rivers, “that comradery and that trust that you start to build with one another. I think this is when it really starts.”
Phase I of the voluntary off season program is focused on strength and conditioning as well as rehabilitation. One notable face out at Chargers Park today was wide receiver Keenan Allen. The wide out says he’s feeling good following a frustrating injury last season and is ready to get back out there. Part of his plan is to cut weight in order to play faster and reduce the risk of injury.
Rivers joked about how the team who met today had a 0-0 record. There are several players, like Travis Benjamin, acquired in free agency participating in the off season program who have the Bolts vets fired up about the new season. But there’s still the draft to get through and each player has a different mindset. Rivers, for example says he doesn’t follow the draft too closely because of how unpredictable it is saying, “You can get an impact player that can really help you when you’re picking that high and just from what I’ve heard in general about this draft, it’s a deep draft so hopefully we can get someone in here who can help us right away.”
Other players, like cornerback Jason Verrett, are more into the draft process, perhaps because his draft day wasn’t all that long ago. He recalls the long hours in the green room saying, “When I got the phone call, it was everything. I was excited jus to receive that call and make my family proud.” The Chargers 2014 first round pick reluctantly said his favorite prospect is Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner to help improve the pass rush.
Buckner is not a name I’ve heard too much in relation to the Chargers but certainly a solid choice by Verrett. With all the transactions we’ve seen (and that have yet to take place) ahead of the draft it’s really anyone’s guess. With the LA Rams seemingly focusing on a QB as their choice with the first overall pick, my dream of having offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil in San Diego isn’t that farfetched.