The process of building this year's 53-man roster began in the wee hours of Jan. 1, starting with the decision to make a coaching change for the 2017 season. Two weeks later, Anthony Lynn was named the 16th head coach in franchise history.
Over the next eight months, the Bolts made several key decisions through free agency and the draft, adding 31 new players to the current 90-man squad.
Every move led to this point, as we're only eight days away from learning the 53-men who'll comprise the 2017 Los Angeles Chargers.
The roster will always remain a fluid entity, as a number of players will come and go over the course of the season, but it's a significant milestone the team is arduously preparing for day and night.
Even at this moment, there are still spots to be won over the coming week. How a player performs in the final two preseason games could be the difference in whether or not he'll realize his NFL dream. With the next preseason game 24 hours away, President of Football Operations John Spanos and Head Coach Anthony Lynn opened up about their upcoming decisions.
"We've had a very productive training camp, and I'm very excited about this team," Spanos said. "Once training camp starts, I stay very much in the present. For me right now, I'm not thinking about what things are going to be like next month or in December. I'm only thinking about right now. Obviously, we have some tough decisions to make in the next week, so this is a very important stretch for the players."
"For me, I want to see how these guys compete," Lynn added. "Preseason is not always ideal because you don't scheme a lot (for the opponent), so to me, it's how they compete. Some guys respond well. Others don't. Now, we've had outstanding competition so far. The kicking game and offensive line have competed well. Our communication and chemistry have improved drastically from day one until now. But for the (next two games), I want to see how they compete."
Overlooked is the fact that the Bolts are furiously keeping tabs on every other team as well as their own. It's imperative they have a firm grasp on the 31 other teams in the NFL.
After all, 1,147 players from those teams will become available all at the same time.
"This is often referred to as the pro scouting department's draft because there are a lot of players in one day going on the waiver wire," Spanos said. "We need to know all those players, and if they can help us. Now, we like the team that we have, but we are always searching for ways to improve."
A major change beginning this year is the removal of the 75-man cut down. In year's past, teams were required to trim their roster by at least 15 players, followed by final cuts on Saturday. Now, all cuts come at once as rosters will go from 90 to 53.
Spanos and Lynn are both in favor of the change, citing how it makes the game safer while giving them a chance to make a more accurate evaluation. In fact, they firmly believe someone will win a job because of this new rule.
"We get to (field) a team in that last preseason game to really compete, and we have another game to evaluate (the players on the bubble)," Lynn said. "It really wasn't the best way to evaluate players (in the past). Guys were playing every down – special teams, offense and defense. They were tired. They just tried to get through the game. Now we can throw a team out there like a real game. Where guys can play offense or defense, rest, and then go out for special teams. Rotate. So it gives us a more accurate way to evaluate them. It's safer, too, with more guys to play and sub. This was a great move by the league office. Also, a lot of times in the past, you made decisions on who you'd keep before that game at most spots. Not every spot, but a lot. So now, this game becomes more important. Because of this change, there is no doubt about it that there are going to be players making a team who wouldn't have (last year)."
"I agree with that," Spanos added. "Logistically, it will be a bit different in making this many transactions in a shorter amount of time. But what's really good about it is getting to see these players in another preseason game. In my time, I've seen guys make a team or earn a practice squad spot based on how they played in that last game. Now this gives more players an opportunity to do that, which we think is great."