Mike Pouncey sits at his locker, a broad smile creeping over his face when asked about the upcoming season opener.
Everyone knows that NFL teams run as vanilla a playbook as possible in the preseason.
It only makes sense. After all, what would be the point in tipping your hand before the games count?
Now, with the 2018 season officially upon us, teams are finally able to unleash their complete arsenal.
That’s music to Pouncey’s ears.
After all, he jumped at the opportunity to become a Bolt as soon as he became a free agent, eager to join the team’s high-flying offense led by Philip Rivers.
He’s gotten a taste of it so far, but knows it pales in comparison to what the regular season has in store for what he considers one of the most creative offenses he’s ever seen.
“We have a really good playbook,” he said. “We have a really good play caller (in Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt). We have a really good offense. With those three combinations there, I think we’re going to do well this season. We kind of got a little piece of it throughout the preseason with the limited amount of plays that we had out there. Knowing that we’re going to go in and have 75-plus plays throughout the game, and we can go out there and work together as an offensive unit, we’re excited for that.”
Welcome to the club.
Mike Williams was one of the breakout stars of training camp and the preseason, but there were so many times he’d take the field itching to run some of the packages and schemes the Bolts have been preparing.
Now he’s ready to open up the playbook.
“That’s really exciting for me,” he said. “And for all of us. The coaches are going to put us all in the best spots for us to be in, and now we just have to go out and make plays. There were so many times in the preseason when there were opportunities where we were in position to make a call, but we didn’t because it was the preseason. I was just picturing myself in my mind running those plays. Now we’ll get to.”
The man calling the plays agrees that it’s an exciting time.
“You’re always excited to see if they work,” Whisenhunt explained. “I think the big thing is when you design plays, and players know there’s a chance it’s coming to them, all of the guys and how you spread the ball around, they get excited. I really enjoy seeing that. When you get a play that you work on in practice and you see it work, and you say, ‘Gosh, I wonder if this is going to work in the game,’ and then you get the look you want, it happens, and you’re just like, ‘Holy cow.’ It’s exciting to see how juiced (the players) get. That’s a big part of the fun as a coach for me, to see that.”
Still, there’s a fine line between unleashing the entire playbook and saving some of it for future games.
So, what’s Whiz’s approach Week 1 vs. Kansas City?
“This first game, it would be pretty good (to let it all out),” he said. “I wouldn’t be worried too much about that because we’ve got a lot of stuff that we’ve been working. There’s always the battle with (what to run and what to potentially save)…There are so many variables between what you’re running and what their guys are doing. It’s always a chess game to some extent, but, in a game like this, first game of the year, you really want to make sure you use all your good stuff as much as you can.”
Check out some of the top practice photos as the Chargers get ready to face the Kansas City Chiefs for Week 1.