Below are three takeaways from Chargers Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore, outside linebacker Joey Bosa and wide receiver Mike Williams' media availability on Thursday:
Savoring the moments
An introspective Joey Bosa stepped to the podium Thursday afternoon at Hoag Performance Center.
Bosa is a little over a week away from the start of Year 8 in the NFL, all of which has been spent with the Chargers after being the No. 3 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Bosa opened up Thursday and explained that his main goal for 2023 is to simply win as many games as possible.
"Every year, I want to play great. I want to help my team," Bosa said. "I think that, more than ever, I just want to win some games.
"Doing my job is, I think, more important than ever," Bosa added. "Obviously, I want to be dynamic and make plays and all of that, but I think being a team player is the most that I can be, while still going out there and being myself and making these plays."
Bosa's resumé is a sparkling one that features four Pro Bowls, 60.5 career sacks and being named the 2016 Defensive Rookie of the Year.
But the 28-year-old noted that the need for personal goals is in the past. With the Chargers once again set to hopefully make some noise and go on a deep playoff run, all Bosa cares about is wins and losses.
"When I say that, it's not like I didn't want to win before," Bosa said. "As I get older, the opportunities get smaller and smaller. When you're a rookie, you have your whole career ahead of you.
"The personal goals and the personal accolades, I feel like, as you get older, just don't quite mean as much," Bosa added. "Obviously, winning Defensive Player of the Year would be an honor and all of that, but going out there with your team, with your friends, with your brothers that you've built the connection with, I think is a much more lasting accomplishment."
Call it a moment of reflection from Bosa, who played in just six total games a season ago due to injury. But he isn't the only Chargers player who feels that way ahead of Week 1 against the Dolphins.
"Seasons go by so fast. I feel like I just got here," said wide receiver Mike Williams. "Going on Year 7, I feel like one of the older guys in the locker room.
"It happens so fast, so you have to enjoy every day. That's my take on it," Williams added. "Enjoy every day and don't take any day for granted."
The Chargers current 53-man roster has 25 players who are entering the fourth season or more in the league. Put another way, while the Bolts do have young talent, they also have a healthy amount of veterans who know the chance for special seasons don't come around every year.
Bosa recalled a recent conversation with defensive tackle CJ Okoye, a Nigerian native who is on the Bolts practice squad in his first-ever season of organized football.
"I think that it's just the importance of spending time together and realizing that when this is all said and done, of course you'll have the connections with people, but it will never be the same," Bosa said. "We have CJ from Nigeria coming in and we're sitting in the hot tub, talking to him about whatever, where are you going to find that other than a sports locker room?
"It's amazing. It got me thinking a little bit about it today. Just trying not to take the time for granted," Bosa added.
Moore talks Ekeler in the run game
The Chargers offense tore up the preseason on the ground.
Over the three games, the Bolts running backs ran for 417 yards and three scores.
All that production came without Austin Ekeler, who was among numerous starters who didn't play in the preseason.
But Chargers Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore made it clear Thursday that although the Bolts have a talented running back room, it's Ekeler who will carry the load.
"I mean, Austin is the guy," Moore said. "Certainly, we feel really, really confident about Austin.
"I think, as the season goes on — these are long seasons — we want to be able to utilize those other guys to allow Austin to continue to be Austin," Moore added. "We'll sprinkle those guys in. Every game is going to be a little bit different, the way those rotations roll, but certainly, Austin is No. 1."
The Bolts running back has put together consecutive monster seasons in all facets, whether it be on the ground or through the air, leading the NFL in touchdowns over the last two seasons.
The success by the likes of Joshua Kelley, Isaiah Spiller and Elijah Dotson throughout training camp and preseason makes Moore feel strongly about the group on the roster — and it also will help keep Ekeler fresh throughout a long season.
"I think both guys have had a really strong camp," Moore said. "Dotson is in there as well. We have four running backs that we feel confident about.
"Austin is going to carry the load," Moore added. "We'll need those other guys as we go through the season."
An improved running game has been a focus of the Chargers throughout the offseason after struggling in that area at times during last season. And so far, there has been good progress ahead of the regular season.
Being able to run the ball consistently coupled with the talent of quarterback Justin Herbert gives the Bolts the flexibility to attack defenses in whatever way is necessary for that game.
"With Justin, you feel really good about throwing it," Moore said. "There are games we may need to throw it 60 times. There may be games where we need to run it 60 times.
"However, we need to fit in-between that each week, it will take its own path and we'll be comfortable with that," Moore said.
A final few days of rest
This Sunday will be the last without NFL football until February.
The Bolts wrapped up practice Thursday before having a few days off until they begin their first game week of the season Monday. The upcoming days off are crucial given the grind that will come with the season.
Bosa noted that even with the rest days coming up, the approach the team has taken so far will allow the team to benefit greatly from these upcoming days with no practice.
"I think that our preparation has been really, really good," Bosa said. "I think that the guys can use this time off, especially the young guys that have been grinding in the preseason, to get a few days to stay off of our feet."
"I think that it's really important to get off of your feet for a few days, when you won't really get that time at all coming up, until maybe the bye week or whatever," Bosa later added. "I think that we prepared really well."
After a long training camp and preseason, the next couple of days will be key in the leadup to the season.
Moore says this Week 0 period is key for the entire team, and he's excited to get the ball rolling.
"I think, as long as guys do it the right way — obviously, we feel really confident that they will," Moore said. "I think it's really awesome that you push through training camp. There's a lot of volume, a lot of work that goes into it.
"You get a chance to breathe for a couple of days and then, we get it going," Moore added. "We're excited."
And when the Bolts come back to the building for practices on Monday, the team will be locked in and ready to start the game week from the jump.
"[Head] Coach [Brandon Staley] put an emphasis on coming in Monday and not starting slow, and making sure that we're ready to go," Bosa said. "You can't have that period where you're getting back into things or whatever, you have to show up ready to go.
"It's really imperative to take care of your body, do everything that you need to," Bosa added. "I'm sure that there will be tons of guys here, working out and getting treatment and all of that. I think that everybody is ready."
Secure your Chargers Mini Plan today! Click here to learn more.