It’s no secret that since Gus Bradley joined the Chargers coaching staff in 2017 he’s made an impact on the team’s defense.
The defensive coordinator molded his group into a top-10 total defense last season, and with five of the team’s seven picks spent on that side of the ball in this year’s draft, hopes are high for what they can achieve in 2019.
With OTAs in the books and minicamp underway, Bradley said this is the time of year where he starts piecing together what will eventually be built on in six weeks when the team convenes at Jack Hammett Sports Complex for training camp.
“I think the way that we handle it, we have OTAs and a lot of our work was done there,” Bradley said. “We looked at different things scheme-wise and player-wise. This gives us a chance to kind of put it together. We still have situational football that we're working on, but just looking (at) combinations of guys and really getting a chance to look at some of our younger players as well.”
But with two seasons under his belt in this role, is the defense starting to take shape in what Bradley originally envisioned? Ever humble, he credits the Bolts’ front office for helping take that unit take the next step.
Browse through the top photos as the vets join the rookies for day one of minicamp at Hoag Performance Center.
“I think this is probably our fastest defense that we've had as far as a group of guys,” he mentioned. “This was a good roster before I got here. I (inherited) a group of guys that really like to play football. I give a lot of credit to the players here and the coaches. They've done a good job with what we're looking for, what we're trying to accomplish and then I think they get on the same page with (General Manager) Tom (Telesco) and the scouting department so that they know how we're going to utilize the talent and what we're looking for. Sometimes, that takes some time. I think we've been kind of on a race to get that done right. They've done a beautiful job of that.”
In terms of speed, getting faster seems to be a high priority for many teams’ defensive units, and Bradley can attest it’s the same for his group.
Afterall, he said getting faster on defense is imperative given the fact that the game has evolved to where teams are being forced to spread out. Being able to defend this is something his group has been working on throughout the offseason program and beyond.
“I think it's trying to spread you out and trying to get more space. When offenses are operating with more space, you have to have more speed. I think that's where we're trying to utilize multiple personnel groupings whether it's nickel, dime or base. I mean, sometimes we'll be in base in three-wide (sets) depending on what a team likes to do. To have that versatility where we can put different guys in based on situation, I think is big. That's what we're trying to develop now.”