Presenting your 2017 Los Angeles Chargers.
Nunc Coepi has long been a favorite saying of Philip Rivers.
Roughly translated, it's Latin for "Now We Begin."
While Rivers has uttered the phrase for years, it's never been more appropriate than in 2017.
A new season.
A new city.
A new head coach.
It all begins this morning as the Chargers kick off their first training camp practice at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa.
As Anthony Lynn prepares to lead the Bolts in the City of Angels, the 16th head coach in Chargers history approaches the season embracing many of the same themes Rivers often utters.
Most of all, a new beginning requires having an open mind.
While Lynn has ideas on how the team might shake out once the grind of training camp comes to an end, he's approaching the first day with a clean slate. Having spent exactly a quarter century in the NFL heading into his first year as head coach, he's seen first-hand the benefits of this methodology.
"You have to have an open mind." he stressed with the trademark passion that's already endeared him to his players. "Otherwise, you may miss out on a Hall of Famer. I mean it. Terrell Davis went into training camp ninth on the depth chart. Now he's a Hall of Famer. Shannon Sharpe was a seventh round pick out of Savannah State. He's a Hall of Famer, too. So, absolutely, you have to have an open mind."
Training camp is grueling for a reason. It's trials and tribulations forge a toughness and identity that goes a long way once the season rolls around.
While there are numerous focal points and benefits, in the end, it's all about finding the best 53 men. In just over a month, nearly half the players taking the field to start training camp will be out of a job when the season officially kicks off.
Even though Lynn admits he knows some things for certain, like Rivers cemented as the number one QB, he's eager to see who steps up to the plate.
"Yeah, there are players we know going in are going to have a certain role. But again, you have to have an open mind. I've been (around) long enough to know you can't go into camp having set expectations. So, we're going to have a lot of competition at all the spots. We know some players who are going to have a role, but really, everyone has a blank slate."
There is a lot that goes into final evaluations. Lynn has an intimate knowledge of his players having watched countless hours of tape. He watched them with a keen eye during the offseason program. In fact, the head coach was so focused this Spring that training camp didn't move to the forefront of his mind until recently.
"To be honest, I really started focusing on training camp once mini camp ended. We had a productive offseason, and it wasn't until the end of mini camp that I really started to focus on training camp. That doesn't mean we weren't preparing for it. We were. We spent a lot of time getting everything ready, and I'm excited. Man, we're ready to get to work! I think the fans are going to like what they see when they come out to watch us."
There's one thing Lynn can't wait to see, either.
"It's different when you put pads on," he said, which will occur for the first time under his watch later this week. "That's when you can really evaluate players. There are some positions it doesn't matter as much, like quarterback and defensive backs. But the guys in the trenches is where you see the difference. That is when you can really evaluate and see what they can do."
Lynn also gave a glimpse into his mind as an evaluator. While there are many pieces of the pie that go into evaluating a player, he admitted he values one area above all else.
"It's all about the games," he said. "Some people practice and aren't perfect. But when they get into the games, that's when they (show out). I can't wait for our preseason games. It's all important, but for me, I stress how players perform during the games."