It’s been seven months since the Los Angeles Chargers last took to a football field, and in a little over 48 hours, they’ll finally get to do it again.
The 2019 Bolts will officially begin to take shape on Thursday when they arrive at State Farm Stadium to take on the Arizona Cardinals.
While there’s no direct game planning that goes into these games, Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn detailed what he looks for in the first preseason game and said instead, his focus is on what his players have been learning over the last few weeks and months.
“You just want guys executing and doing what they’re told to do and you can evaluate that,” Lynn said. “If it’s scheme, then that falls back on coaches. We don’t have time to scheme preseason and most people don’t, to be honest with you. We want guys going out, executing and playing fast and physical and we can evaluate that.”
Kyzir White was one of those players who made the most of his opportunity last preseason. After only playing in three regular season games, the linebacker’s 2018 campaign was cut short due to injury, but he’s eager to lace up on Thursday and get back out onto the field.
“It means everything to me,” White explained. “After being on the sideline and watching my teammates play, it was a tough feeling. But now that I’m back healthy and I get a chance to go out there and contribute and help out, I’m excited.”
While there’s a chance many of the team’s starters may be on the sidelines Thursday night, this game will be a great opportunity for the younger guys on the roster, like White last year, to make their marks.
“You’re going to learn a lot (on) Thursday night about some of these guys,” Lynn continued. “You see them all OTAs, minicamps and two weeks of training camp and now you get to see them in a live game. This is the real evaluation right here. We’ve had a lot of exposure, but this is the big one right here. We’ll learn a lot about the depth that we have and we expect that depth to continue to get better and continue to develop.”
One of those younger players is rookie defensive tackle Cortez Broughton.
Much like the last time the Chargers took the field, it’s been a long time since Broughton last played in a game.
While he’s ready to go like White, he said as a rookie, he’s more eager than ever to put what he’s been working on and preparing for into action.
“I’m excited just to have an opportunity to go out there and play with the guys,” Broughton said. “You build this bond over the last three to four months, so now we get to go out and play against another team together. This rookie process is seven to eight months and now we get to do what we came here to do; play games. That’s what we really do enjoy. That’s what you look forward to, you work all year round to do this and celebrate with your team.”