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Staley Excited, Encouraged After Day 1 of OTAs

FTP 05.22

Below are three takeaways from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley, outside linebacker Joey Bosa and outside linebacker Khalil Mack's media availability on Monday:

Chargers kickoff OTAs

Another offseason benchmark is here.

Monday marked the beginning of Phase Three of the Chargers voluntary offseason program and the first day of Organized Team Activity practices. The team's veterans and rookies took the field in helmets and shorts for a practice that saw a variety of drills, including 7-on-7 for the first time this offseason.

OTAs is another step in the offseason process, as the team continues to build up towards training camp while mixing in the veterans with the rookies who are getting their first taste of an NFL offseason.

"It was a good first day. It was great to be back with the guys," said Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley. "The guys have been working hard ... [we get to] kick off your football with the young guys and establishing how you practice and working on your technique.

"Really proud of the guys being here," Staley added. "This group has really come together nicely this offseason. We're excited about getting going this springtime."

OTAs are voluntary and there was a strong showing in Monday's practice.

Among them was outside linebacker Joey Bosa, who Staley was asked about during his media availability. Staley credits the foundation established on the culture side of the team, an area he has previously talked about in the past, for such a strong showing.

"I really appreciate all these guys being here, because it's voluntary," Staley said. "I think it says a lot about the culture that we have. Your culture is your best players and the example that they set.

"Certainly, Khalil Mack sets a high standard, and I think that Derwin [James, Jr.] and Joey [Bosa] are part of that," Staley added. "For Joey to be here, I think that it shows all of these young players what it takes to be successful, that you have to be here with your team to improve… For him to be here, Day 1, really excited about that — and all of the guys who were here because that's how you improve, you improve as a team together."

Staley said this group is motivated, as he points to the attendance as one of the indicators of that.

With the continuity from last season heading into training camp, Staley is excited to be back on the field as a team.

"I think you see it with the attendance that we have here today," Staley said. "This is a hungry group. I think that the whole offseason has been really business-like. There's been that right vibe, where there's a lot of familiarity, you're not onboarding like a brand-new team, bringing a lot of guys back.

"For a lot of guys who have been with us now two years, or with the team even longer than that, you're going to bring back a hungry group," Staley later added. "We're excited to take the field today and take full advantage of this springtime heading into training camp."

Bosa feeling good physically

As previously mentioned, Bosa took the field for the first time this offseason.

Bosa took part in the drills alongside fellow outside linebacker Khalil Mack and the rest of the outside linebackers and was excited about what he'll be able to work on with his early arrival.

"It's no problem being out here, being able to get with the guys and be out here a little bit early," Bosa said. "I'm actually excited to see how much I can kind of hone my football technique because I'm really feeling good, physically. It's the first time I've been out here this early in a long time."

Bosa, who suffered as groin injury early last season that kept him out over three months, said his offseason has been going really well as he has been able to train and work back into form.

"It's going really well. I've been able to really just focus on my training," Bosa said. "It's weird to be feeling in shape at this point of the year, but I'm feeling really good. I know I was talking a lot last year about how it was the best I've felt. It was true at the time, but I think I got used to a lot of the chronic pain that I was in, so it was hard to judge where I really was.

"Kind of getting back to work this year, it's been fun to put up some times running and stuff. We're getting back to the old me or whatever you want to say," Bosa added. "Yeah, it's been going really well. I've been able to stay really consistent this year. It's going to be good getting out here, getting some football movement and all of that stuff, being with the guys. It's been going really well."

Following his return late last season, Bosa detailed his injury and how he had been having groin and core issues for a couple years prior to the injury.

This year coming off of the surgery and his return, Bosa is feeling good physically for the most part entering this phase of the offseason with the team.

"There's definitely some things here and there, but for the most part, I'm feeling really good," Bosa said. "I've been able to stay on a really good routine, being able to stay consistent and not having to adjust each day based off how I felt, whether it's my groin or whatever it is.

"Anybody walking down the street isn't completely out of pain. Everybody is dealing with something, but I'd say relative to some of the years prior, I'm definitely feeling good," Bosa added.

New Bolts impress early

The Chargers will retain a lot of continuity from this season — a change from the situation they were in last season onboarding a lot of new players.

Still, one of the few major changes will come in the middle of the defense with the addition of linebacker Eric Kendricks. Kendricks has been in the building working with his new teammates since his arrival earlier in the offseason and was out there again on Monday.

Experience and leadership is just some of the things he brings to the Bolts, something Mack has noticed in Kendricks' short time in the building.

"We were just talking about it," Mack said. "Talk about knowledge and the experience of having him in the middle, you can already hear the voice, and the power and inflection in his voice, whenever he is calling the calls and putting people into position.

"It's going to be great, it's going to be fun playing with him," Mack added.

Kendricks has been as consistent as they come manning the middle of a defense throughout his career, and 2023 will be the first time he'll do it in the powder blues.

While Bosa hasn't been able to talk to him a lot so far, he echoed Mack's sentiment and added how a player of his magnitude can help take some of the load off of them on the edge.

"I mean, it means a lot [to add him to the defense]," Bosa said. "I can't say that I've watched a lot of him over the years, but to get a guy with experience — I don't want to be the old guy in the room, so it's nice to haveKhalil, nice to have the older guys to kind of show us the way and show us what it takes to get to those final games of the year.

"I haven't really gotten a chance to talk to him much. Obviously, being out here early and being here as the year goes on, we'll get to know each other and get to talk more. Having good players in the middle takes a lot off us guys [on the edge]," Bosa added.

Mack also spoke about another new addition to the defense, someone who is getting his first run on an NFL team

Rookie outside linebacker Tuli Tuipulotu continues to settle in with his new team and joins as good of a room as they come with the likes of Mack and Bosa.

And while Mack didn't realize how young Tuipulotu is, he had praise of the second-round rookie who has already shown the ability to learn quickly.

"Tuli is a quiet dude. I didn't realize that he was 20 years old. Yeah, quiet. It's strange being in this position, being so much older than these guys," Mack said with a laugh.

"He has a quiet demeanor, but he's a smart dude. He learns fast, has fast hands," Mack added. "It's going to be fun playing with all of these guys, especially the young dudes."

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