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Mailbag: Who Will Return Kickoffs and Punts?
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A: First off, it’s great to see the team back on the practice fields at Chargers Park! There are far too many impressive players to single out just one, but a player I have taken note of is David Johnson. Every time he’s on the field he’s being used in a different way. The free agent acquisition not only lines up as a traditional tight end, but is also in the slot, in motion and even in the backfield as a fullback. So I’ve been really intrigued by the new tight end and what he brings to the table. I spoke with him last week, and he said he embraces his hybrid role. Johnson considers himself a throwback player who enjoys the dirty work that often goes unnoticed.
A: Excellent question. The competition for returner may be the one I’m most eager to see come training camp and the preseason. General Manager Tom Telesco added a number of dynamic returners this offseason, and he addressed it during a recent live chat on Chargers.com:
“It was and is a high priority. Being able to flip field position with a great return game is a big part of winning and losing. We think we have some really good candidates this year, and our hope is that someone emerges.”
A: I’m fascinated with punting! Of all the athletic feats accomplished on the field, I’m always impressed by a player’s ability to punt that ball so high, far and accurate with long hang time. That’s especially true for a guy like Mike Scifres who is one of the best in the business. If you’re coming to training camp this year during one of our 10 open dates, devote some time to watching Scifres. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Q: How is King Dunlap doing? We need him to dominate this year. – Paul Zamarripa
A: My first impression from watching Dunlap in practice is he looks the same as he did a year ago. The left tackle was a huge success story for the 2013 Bolts and was a major contributor on a formidable offensive line. Like many of his teammates, Dunlap is also a tremendous presence in the locker room. He’s taken some of the younger members of the line under his wing, and is often in the ear of Johnnie Troutman. Dunlap is a guy I’ve been meaning to check in with so hopefully I will have a story on him in the coming weeks.