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How Joshua Palmer is Strengthening His Connection With Justin Herbert

FTP Day 8 TC

Below are three takeaways from Chargers Special Teams Coordinator Ryan Ficken, center Corey Linsley and wide receiver Joshua Palmer's media availability on Saturday:

Palmer flashing early in Year 3 camp

There's been a number of standouts during the first eight practices of Chargers Training Camp — and wide receiver Joshua Palmer is one of them.

The Bolts receiver wowed with a viral, spectacular one-handed grab earlier in the week. He also had one of the plays of the day Friday, hauling in the 30-yard touchdown in the team's 2-minute drill.

"I'm motivated every year, it doesn't really matter what it is," Palmer said Saturday. "I'm in a never-ending tunnel.

"That's the price you pay for wanting to be the best," Palmer added.

Palmer showed strides in his second season in the league, often being relied upon when injuries struck the wide receiver room. He finished with the second-most yards (769) and second-most catches (72) on the team.

His connection with quarterback Justin Herbert took a big step last season — but it's far from a finished product according to Palmer.

"It's still growing," Palmer said about his relationship with Herbert. "We're still young, Justin is going into Year 4 and I'm going into Year 3. I haven't been doing this for a long time and he hasn't been in for a long time.

"We have a lot of time to grow, but we've made major improvements from every season," Palmer added.

Palmer continues to try to improve and part of it comes from the guidance of wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, who he's leaned on since the moment he's stepped in the NFL.

For as long as he's been in the powder blues, Palmer has been looking to learn from the best — and he doesn't plan on stopping any time soon.

"I do that every year," Palmer said. "Until my last season in the NFL, I'm always going to be learning from guys who I value as receivers. The day I stop learning is the day I stop playing.

"I watch a lot of film. I say it every year, but I watch a lot of film of him," Palmer later added about Allen. "Next to him, I'll watch him on the field."

Palmer is always looking to improve, even if interrupts his sleeping schedule.

"A lot of the offseason and in the middle of the night, I'll wake up randomly and want to do a release," Palmer said. "I'm always working on it, I'm always thinking about it. It's never ending, I'm addicted to it.

"I'll be thinking about something and I have to feel the steps, so I'll get out of bed and do it, just to get it out," Palmer later added with a laugh.

A new year for special teams

The Chargers special teams unit became not only a consistent factor of the 2022 season, but one of the strongest groups in the entire league.

However it's now 2023, and Special Teams Coordinator Ryan Ficken's message to his team is straightforward — it's a new year.

"The first thing is that last year was last year, that one is done," Ficken said. "We have to go ahead and work back from Day 1, starting with our technique and fundamentals, just try and get it off the ground again and act as if no one knows anything.

"We're new, everyone's new here," Ficken added. "But we want to really stress the technique and fundamentals, but we have to build consistency in what we do. We know what the expectations are and we know what's in front of us.

Ficken continued: "I think we have great players right now on the roster and the depth to go ahead and get that done. We have to make sure that we go out there and we execute."

The special teams unit has been a full go in camp so far, getting in a variety of work in both kickoff and punt coverage — an area that the team exceled in last year.

Ficken has been pleased with the unit, as he looks forward to big upcoming events where he will be able to evaluate the team even more.

"With camp, it's been great seeing these guys compete, run around a little bit and be out there in front of these fans," Ficken said. "It's been a lot of fun so far, but excited for tomorrow and the scrimmage, leading up to the Rams when we play them next week."

There is a lot of onboarding on special teams each year with rookies and new players coming in, and that's where a veteran like long snapper Josh Harris is crucial.

Harris, like Ficken, is entering his second season with the Bolts. Ficken praised Harris for what he brings to the table, as he has served as a consistent, steady hand not only for special teams, but for the team itself.

"Josh is phenomenal for our group," Ficken said. "That's not just special teams or specialists, he's phenomenal for our team. He's a leader, that's the big draw for us going to get him. I take my hat off to [General Manager] Tom [Telesco] and [Executive VP of Football Operations/Player Finance] Ed [McGuire] for going and actively pursuing him.

"They brought him on board and he's just been a phenomenal leader for us. That's why we put a lot on his plate," Ficken added. "He sees it in the big picture, on the outside, too, not just with the specialists. He will talk to these core guys and make sure that we have that bar still set up high. We are still on pace to go ahead and make sure that we achieve that."

Check out the best photos from the sixth day of Training Camp 2023 at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa!

Linsley praises growth of young guards

Center Corey Linsley has seen a good amount of training camp practices so far in his career so far.

The decorated center enters his third season with the Bolts and 10th overall year in the NFL.

And the veteran has liked what he's seen from the offensive line early in camp, as this is the time where you figure things out and make corrections.

"It's going good. It was a good first couple of days," Linsley said. "Good stuff to build on. It's the early days of camp and finding, you know, new problems, maybe that hadn't arisen before and coming up with solutions.

"Then, practicing what you need to get good at. Good start to camp," Linsley said. "Nothing out of the ordinary, which is good."

Linsley is the most experienced offensive lineman in the starting group — one that has a lot of youth, but also a lot of success.

The return of Rashawn Slater and Trey Pipkins III sures up the tackle spots, but it's the interior that will look a bit different.

Both Jamaree Salyer and Zion Johnson, who were major contributors last season, will take new positions with Johnson slides to the other side at left guard and Salyer moves to right guard.

Linsley has been impressed by the pair of Year 2 players so far and how much they've grown since their rookie years. It's early in the process, but Linsley had nothing but praise for the two.

"Jamaree and Zion both — I know Zion is switching over, which I guess it's what he played in college and maybe is a little bit more comfortable over there. Both of those guys are taking steps," Linsley said.

"Again, speaking with everything, we're building day-in and day-out," Linsley added. "Both of those guys are Steady Eddy. They're just ball players. They get it. It's awesome to have both of them on either side."

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