The dog days of camp are officially upon Chargers Park.
Nearly two weeks into training camp, players have been physically tested. Long practices in the summer sun are beginning to take their toll, but as Joe Barksdale mentioned, "the harder it is now, the easier it will be in season."
"It's always funny when people ask, 'How's camp going?'" said Kyle Emanuel. "Because it's a grind (and) it's a time to get better. But, it's not easy. We understand all that comes with the process; getting tired, getting bumps and bruises. But we're using that to come together as a team. We're working hard and camp is about improving every single day."
"As a player that plays offensive line, which is a technique-based position, any opportunity I have to come on the field and get better is a good day," Barksdale added.
While staying physically tough is important, remaining mentally sound is key to any player's success getting through the monotony of camp. For rookie Hunter Henry, he said his mental toughness comes from going up against "the best every day" while rediscovering his love for the game of football and his strong faith.
"These are the days where you have to dig deep and figure out why you play this game," he said. "It's because you love it. For me…I have something else that I can lean on and that's my faith. It's nice to have, but you really have to dig deep, really dig down and grind through these days."
One of the positives to the end of this second week of camp is that it concludes with the team's first preseason game. Not only have the Chargers gone up against the best as Henry alluded, they've also continued to go up against their teammates. That will all change on Saturday when the team takes on the Tennessee Titans.
"We're all excited," Emanuel said. "You hear it every year, but it's true every year. You go against the same guy, doing the same drill in the same team periods every single day, so it gets a little old. It's always good to go out there, play against someone new and get live-action."
"It'll be fun," Henry added. "I'm looking forward to the atmosphere and looking forward to the whole game and getting my first game out of the way. I'm excited to get my nerves out of the way. It'll be good to see how we operate on the road. It's hard traveling from out here which is a different thing I'll have to get used to. So it'll be nice to get that out of the way with the first (preseason game)."
Although the Bolts open the preseason on the road in Tennessee, they'll welcome the Titans to their own house during Week 9. While all cards will not be shown on Saturday, some players believe getting a chance to see a team twice within three months will be a benefit.
"It'll be good to try some new things out, see how the offense is coming together and just test things in live situations because it gives you a different look and a new perspective on things," Barksdale said. "You won't see everything, but it'll look a little more like a division game where you see teams twice in a (season)."