Shaking off rust after not being on a football field for five months while also learning a new playbook in a new city is a lot to ask of any player. Add in getting to know new teammates and coaches makes it even harder.
But that’s not how new Chargers left tackle
Photo Gallery: Chargers at Practice | More Photos
Signed on May 21, he was all smiles on his first day in a Chargers uniform.
“(I’m) doing well,” Starks said. “The weather is a lot kinder than in Pittsburgh right now, so it’s a welcomed change. It’s good to get out there for the first time. (I) haven’t been out on the football field in about five months. (I’m) knocking off a little bit of the rust, but everything’s starting to come clear. It’s a work in progress, got a long way to go, but in the right direction though.”
“Change is good,” Starks continued. “Close one chapter, open a new one. It’s a new adventure. To come out here to San Diego, even though it’s a new team, there’s still some old faces that I remember from the year. There’s a little bit of familiarity there. It’s just a great place and everybody has been so nice and wonderful, so it’s a great opportunity.”
Chargers head coach Mike McCoy liked what he saw from the two-time Super Bowl champion on his first day.
“He’s doing a nice job,” McCoy said. “He got a crash course last week with the playbook, coming in, being around, so he’s been studying a lot trying to figure it all out. (It’s a) good thing he was with Coach (Ken) Whisenhunt in the past. He’s done a nice job today.”
“The playbook is a little bit different, (but) a lot of similarities though because of Ken Whisenhunt’s offense and my first three years in Pittsburgh,” Starks said. “So a lot of the words carry over, but the terminology between the offensive linemen is probably the biggest nuance I have to get over. It’s about going out there and executing. The offensive line is a very acute position: five guys have to think as one and (communicate), so if you find that best five that have the best chemistry, that’s really going to be the biggest telling point.”
Starks comes to the Chargers as an accomplished player with Super Bowl experience ready to compete for a starting job.
“You want to build as much depth on a football team as you possibly can,” McCoy said. “You can never have enough players. We’re all greedy as coaches; we want as many good players (as possible). What we are trying to do is build the offensive line back up the way we want it to be. It wasn’t good enough the past couple years just like everyone’s talked about early on. We’re doing whatever we can to improve that. We’re going to take it one day at a time. If there’s someone we think can improve the football team and be one of the best five, be one of the best eight, ten, how many we keep on the roster – we’ll probably keep seven game day on the roster, so we’re looking for the best seven guys, so we don’t skip a beat. It’ll be a ‘next-man-up’ mentality to where we just keep on going. We just want the best players possible.”
Starks fits that way of thinking.