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A Conversation With: Chargers WR Coach Chris Beatty

Beatty Cover 1 is chatting with every Bolts assistant coach this offseason. Up next? Chris Beatty.

Thanks for your time, Chris. You might be the most frequent flier on the coaching staff. How does that affect your offseason?

"For me it's always the same since I've been here. My family lives in Maryland so every weekend I try to fly home, so it's long flights there and back. We don't take too many trips because school doesn't time up quite the same so we'll something here in the summer. But it's been great. The NFL provides different opportunities as far as the amount of time you have off. There's no weekends recruiting and all that kind of stuff, so it's been great."

How do you stay connected with your family from afar?

"It's tough. Last year I think I made like 18 trips in a calendar year back and forth cross country, so that's a lot. But at the end of the day like I said, the offseason is different in the league where it gives you a chance to be able to get home if you're willing to sit on a plane for six, seven hours at a time. You kind of make the most of that and that's kind of what we've done. It's hard because your family moves so much in this profession, people don't really know that. So at the end of the day it was like do you take them out of school or do you keep him in the same school where he knows all of his people? It was more important for us to keep him in the school where he knows people and he's got stability that way."

What did you like about being a college coach?

"I loved the kids. Coaching is coaching whether it's college or pro, the games are different but the coaching part is the same. I don't treat these guys any different, I try to teach them on the field and try to give them some stuff off the field, too. Obviously they're in different situation financially. But I always try to tell them, 'I've been 25, you haven't been 45.' There's stuff you learn over time of, 'Hey, I never thought of it that way.' That's how you build relationships, being able to talk more than just football. That's a big part of it for me, always imparting knowledge to younger people and try to make them better whether it's on or off the field."

What was the biggest transition from college to the NFL?

"It was interesting because you're coming off of COVID, everything was virtual so that was different. The football part was not really that hard. They are two completely different games, but the fundamentals of them are the same. You don't really realize the differences between the college and the pro game until you've coaches at both levels. There is a difference in not having to recruit so the packages are bigger, the volume is bigger because you don't have to worry about flying to go see players or spending half of your time worrying about them going to class or stuff like that. Their only class is football and your only class to teach is football as opposed to the other parts of it."

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What have your interactions with Kellen Moore been like so far?

"Didn't know Kellen but obviously knew of him and the success they've had. We had our practices here with him last year and then we played them the first year so definitely thought he did a great job in Dallas. You could see when he came in here why he did a great job in Dallas and how those things we can maximize some of the potential in our room. At the end of the day, it's been really smooth, really seamless transition. He doesn't have much of an ego which is good. You've got to be a good teacher at this level even more so, which people kind of lose track of because they're pros. They need teaching, too. He does a nice job of it."

Do you have an example of him being a good teacher?

"I think the system, he's been flexible because a lot of people come in and say, 'We're running this and this is what I know and this is how I know it'. But there's also having the ability to be flexible and realize we were really good throwing the ball the last two years. We've been among the league leaders in passing and understanding these are things that they did well, I'll transform kind of how I think and we'll call it what makes it easier for Justin [Herbert] or Keenan [Allen] and Mike [Williams] or Austin {Ekeler], whatever the personnel is. He's got flexibility where he's not just rigid in, 'It's my way or no way.'"

What do you like about working with Keenan?

"Keenan's been awesome. He wants to be great and he's been great obviously for a long time. He's not stubborn, he wants to be coached, he lets you coach him. One of the things I tell everybody that I've been blessed because him and Mike are so easy to coach. They want to be coached, they want to be taught. Keenan's got a fluid game, there's a reason why people watch his tapes for teaching purposes. I used to use them as a college coach and then I realized now you shouldn't be using because only Keenan does what Keenan does and you don't know why he's doing it if you're not in that room all the time. But he's been awesome and I think our biggest deal is making sure that he shows up for the fight. Last year we had those couple of injuries and you just want to make sure that we keep him healthy so when the games matter he's ready to do what he does."

Som people outside the building might question his age or recent injuries. What makes you believe he sill has it?

"Yeah, I think he showed that last year. Second half of the season he led the NFL in catches for the seven games he was healthy. At the end of the day, I think he's still got it. He doesn't show any signs of slowing down. He's never been a fast guy, so his game is not predicated on running a 4.4. It's predicated on being twitchy and he's still got that and the ability to separate in short areas. That part hasn't changed."

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How about Mike? He's a much different style than Keenan.

"They compliment each other so well. Mike has been one of those guys, he takes coaching, too. Like Keenan you make some suggestions, while Mike is just like, 'Tell me what you want and I'll do what you want.' And so you can see his game over the last two years really blossom because we've asked a lot more of him than maybe he was asked in the first couple of years and his game's taken off from it. I think he's accepted that really well. No one goes for 50/50 balls like Mike does, so we're always 80/20 when you're throwing them to Mike up there. Him and Justin have a great feel for that. I think the things that he's done is improve his route tree and his ability to read coverages and adjust to those things. I think his game is taking off. He was on his way to a 1,300 or 1,400-yard season if he doesn't get hurt. I think his game is still growing and I think he's got a chance to blossom even more so because now I think we can do a little more with him where before, he was the X and defenses knew where he was. I think he's gotten to a point where he can do more things now."

Do you feel Joshua Palmer is underappreciated?

"I do, but not by us. He had 70-plus catches last year and really played every position. If Keenan was out, he was Keenan. If Mike was out, he was Mike. If both were in, then he had to adjust his game that way. He had some huge games, I think he had three 100-yard games for us last year and I think he made some big plays and really carried us in the second Kansas City game here at home. He's got the ability to be fluid because he does have some Mike in his game with his size, but he's got some Keenan with his twitchiness. Because you have those two other guys, people kind of lose track of how valuable he is to us. He does a lot of the dirty work that you wouldn't necessarily ask the other guys to do."

How did you evaluate Quentin Johnston coming out in the draft?

"I thought he was really light on his feet. Really good after the catch. The first thing that popped out to me was his ability to transition into a ball carrier, like, right now. His RAC [run after catch] was tremendous. He doesn't have a lot of wasted motion, he makes people miss without having to come to a stop and he can make people miss on the move. I think he's got some small forward to his game, but he also has the ability to be a power forward and dunk on guys and go over their heads. He can do both of them at the same time."

What expectations do you have for him as a rookie?

"At the end of the day, making him feel at ease that he doesn't have to carry us. That's one of the great things about this situation is. He's got Mike, he's got Keenan and he's got Josh … they've been in this league over time. So it's not like we're counting on you to come in and be the No. 1 receiver on Day 1, but that being said, he should compete to be the No. 1 receiver on Day 1. They kind of both go together."

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What did you like about Derius Davis coming out in the draft?

"Really fast guy, obviously tremendous returner, ability with the ball in his hands. I always equate it that he's a point guard basketball player. He can cross you up, he can do some things with the ball in his hands that we don't necessarily have on the roster. It's our job to be able to carve out a role for him because he does have the speed and the ability with the ball in his hands to scare a defense. With those other guys there's obviously not going to be a ton of catching, but we need to get him right because you never know. We want to coach him up and expedite his learning curve as much as we can too. But he's definitely got a different skillset than we have."

How's Jalen Guyton looking on his road to recovery?

"Hopefully he gets healthy, but we missed him. You could see we missed having the vertical threats on the field. He stretches the field really like nobody else on our team leading up to Quentin and the additions we made this year. At the end of the day, hopefully he gets healthy and can be back to the same 4.3 Jalen that he was. And then we can help him, too. Like I said, I think his game has grown a little bit, but early in the season we didn't get a chance to see it and then the injury changed how we had to play because we just didn't have the vertical stretch with him on the field. Definitely a good thing to have all of that competition in the room."

There's been plenty of offseason chatter about getting more explosive plays through the air. Do you believe that?

"It's interesting because you hear people say, 'Herbert needs to throw the ball down the field'. A lot of it is who are you throwing it down the field to. When you have all the injuries that we had last year, so you have to be able to adjust the style of play to the person that you have. Assuming everybody is at full strength, we definitely want to be able to push the ball down the field more and create more explosive plays. It goes back to what I said earlier about run after the catch, in-breaking route and scheme some things up to catch routes on the run help do that. Create 1-on-1 matchups. Mike's proven to be one of the bigger jump ball guys in the league, we need to create matchups to be able to create more explosive plays too. But when you have Quentin, Derius Davis, Mike, Jalen Guyton, now you've got some more down the field guys that gives you a different way to stretch the field than maybe we had with all the injuries we had last year."

Do you think you have the best WR room in the NFL?

"I really like our room. I hate to comment on anybody else's room. I like our room. I think we have a lot of depth, a lot of competition in that room which is exciting to me because now it's our job to be able to make all of those pieces fit together and make it all gel. That makes it exciting so obviously a lot better issue when you have that much talent than when you don't. I really like our room, I wouldn't trade it for any room in the league. I just want to make sure we get our guys in a position to show case the ability that they have."

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