Football is football.
That was a common mantra repeated yesterday by the players who reported to Chargers Park for the team’s rookie minicamp. They refuted any notion of nerves instead declaring their enthusiasm and desire to prove their worth at the highest level.
Friday, hitting the field for the first time, the 40 players participating looked crisp and comfortable.
As for the man in charge, Head Coach Mike McCoy set goals of what he wanted to accomplish over the next few days. So far things are going according to plan.
“The most important thing is the players learn the way we’re going to do things,” McCoy told the media following the team’s first session on the field. “Number one, how we’re going to practice against each other. It’s going to be a little bit different for all these guys from college – the tempo we’re going to go and the way the rules are what we can and can’t do out here. Really we’ll get ready for when the vets come in on Monday, they’ve got a good start on the way things are going to be done.”
The second thing is you want to find out how the players learn, because we’re going to throw a lot at them. They are way behind mentally in our system. They’ve only been here since last night learning the system, and we’re not going to slow down and wait for them. We’re going to go at the pace of the vets. We’ve already done a lot in the offseason with the players that are already here, and they’ve got to do whatever they can to catch up. But they did a nice job today. The coaches have done an outstanding job with the players.”
So far, McCoy’s initial impression of the rookies is that he’s pleased by the work ethic, energy level and overall performance.
One way to help secure a spot on that 53-man roster is to make your presence felt on special teams. The head coach hammered that point home to the rookies to make sure they fully understood the importance of excelling in that position.
“(Special Teams) was a big message in last night’s meeting,” explained McCoy. “After we introduced the entire staff, I asked all the rookies does anyone remember who the special teams coach was. And a number of them raised their hand and they all wanted to point back to Kevin Spencer. For young players, it’s critical you try to create a role on special teams also. The way rosters are built these days, and with only 53 players, when we get down to that lower end of the roster, and you start making those cuts at the end and start figuring out who will be 50-53 on the roster, a lot of times those are going to be special teams players. You might be the fourth best receiver, but if you can’t help on special teams, you’re probably not going to play on game day because we only have so many uniforms to put out there.”
The rookies will continue to meet with coaches today before heading back to Chargers Park to do it all over again on Saturday and Sunday.