With ten minutes to spare in the first practice of OTAs, a familiar chant blared through the loudspeakers of Chargers Park and drowned out the signature cadence of quarterback Philip Rivers.
After the earlier playlist comprised of current hip hop hits ended, the Bolts switched gears to a tune familiar to one of their division rivals and Week 1 opponent in Kansas City: "The Chop."
While September 11 is still months away, Head Coach Mike McCoy, who thought of using the song during the first day of OTAs, believed it is never too early to start preparing for one of the most hostile environments in the NFL.
"I think that we understand the task at hand with the opening week," McCoy said. "Going to Kansas City, going to Arrowhead; the noise, the history, their fans, what they do week in and week out speaks for itself. We know that. The great thing is our quarterback's played there a number of times and it was kind of an introduction to everybody of what we're going to face going into that opener."
"I didn't (anticipate it) but we're going to Kansas City Week 1 so it's going to be loud," added cornerback Brandon Flowers. "It's great that we're starting it now (and) getting the offensive guys who haven't played in Kansas City get used to it now so when we get to Week 1, we'll be ready to roll…. When it came on, I can guarantee everybody's mindset went straight to Week 1. Once we heard it, everybody tried to lock in and it felt like a game tempo."
Obviously you can't directly simulate an in-game environment out on the practice field, but as quarterback Philip Rivers noted, pumping noise and music in certainly helps.
"I think it's good," said Rivers. "We're a long way from Kansas City, but any time you can simulate Kansas City and all the road places and have the guys think when they're a little bit tired and communicate with guys who are new. I think you add the noise element that way nobody gets real comfortable and you really have to focus in on the calls and working together."
While the Chargers faced a slight technical difficulty during practice, it ended up being a teaching moment for the team that the head coach took in stride.
"Unfortunately, the (music guy) had a little technical difficulty starting (the song) and Philip was already in the middle of his cadence all of a sudden (the music blasted) and I believe it was Hunter (Henry) who jumped. But we've got to deal with that. It's a learning experience and that's why we're doing it from day one."