Below are three takeaways from Chargers Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore, Chargers Defensive Coordinator Derrick Ansley and outside linebacker Khalil Mack following their media availability on Thursday:
Moore ready for Bolts debut
The anticipation for the Bolts regular-season opener continues to grow as the days progress — and Chargers Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore is ready to get the ball rolling.
The first-year Chargers play caller has had a lot of preparation with his new offense since the moment he arrived this offseason. Moore has had a chance to call the plays against the talent Bolts defense, but also other teams in the preseason and during joint practices.
But now Moore is looking forward to seeing the offense and says everyone on the team is excited about officially getting the games started.
"A lot of excitement going into the regular season," Moore said. "It's a long process of OTAs to training camp to preseason ball and now you finally feel like you're here and ready to roll. I'm really excited.
"I think everyone is ready to go," Moore later added. "I think everyone is just ready to play football. It's been a really good process, but training camp can be a long process and now we're here, so let's go."
Even with all the excitement heading into the first game, Moore noted that at the end of the day, it's the beginning of a long process.
"This will be a lot of fun. It's one game certainly, so you have to put that into perspective," Moore said. "But certainly, we're excited about the opportunity to get out there and kind of just go for it and then in the second week, we'll re-evaluate and keep going."
Moore's first game as the Chargers play caller will be up against the Dolphins, a team he has not gone up against since his first year as a play caller in 2019. The Miami roster looks much different this time around, as the team also has a new defensive coordinator in Vic Fangio.
However, whether it's a defensive coordinator that is calling the plays for the first time on their new team or someone who has been there for years, Moore says the mystery factor continues to play a part in preparing his offense for Week 1.
"Certainly, it's challenging," Moore said. "A lot of times early seasons you tend to have one or two of these in a season and certainly this one will be a huge challenge because its one of the best defensive coaches in the entire game. You're watching Miami, you're watching old Denver, going back to Chicago, whatever you need to do.
"There's an element of projecting, that's what happens at the beginning of the season," Moore added. "It's a little bit of an unknown. Even if you played someone who's been somewhere for 10 years, there's still an element that something may change."
Mack prepping for Miami tackles
Khalil Mack is now 32 years old as he enters Year 10 in the NFL.
"I feel great," Mack said Thursday. "Great. I don't know what else to say."
Mack broke into a laugh as he trailed off in that short response, but the Chargers outside linebacker made it clear that he's ready for another season to start.
As Mack prepares for Year 2 with the Bolts, he's looking to once again wreak havoc on opposing offenses.
Mack tallied 8.0 sacks last season despite being double (and sometimes triple) teamed with Joey Bosa absent on the other side for the majority of 2022.
Mack was asked Thursday if personal accolades are irrelevant to him at this stage of his career.
"I'd be lying if I said they didn't matter," Mack said. "It's a measurement of what you're doing and what you're doing for the team.
"I try to give my all to be able to put the team in a position to win, whether it's affecting the quarterback and getting the ball back to Justin and the offense, that's what I'm here to do," Mack said.
Mack, who usually lines up against the left tackle, could see a new face there Sunday afternoon.
Dolphins starter Terron Armstead has missed both practices this week with back, ankle and knee injuries, meaning his status for Sunday is up in the air.
If Armstead can't go, Miami lists Kendall Lamm as the backup left tackle on their unofficial depth chart.
Mack said Thursday that he's preparing for both players in advance of Week 1.
"It's definitely a part of it because you have to know what to expect, especially up front," Mack said. "If you have a new guy up front, what to expect on their end and what they're thinking.
"But at the same time, not letting that affect our thought process and our aggressiveness and how we want to play," Mack added.
Ansley's familiarity with Tagovailoa
Chargers Defensive Coordinator Derrick Ansley is quite familiar with Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
As a defensive backs coach at the University of Alabama in 2016 and 2017, Ansley got to see Tagovailoa firsthand on the Crimson Tide's roster.
"I was at [Alabama] his freshman year in 2017 when he was a freshman with Jalen Hurts," Ansley said about Tagovailoa. "From day one, you knew he was a leader when he came in there. Bright smile, lights the room when he gets in there, great human being."
Even after he left Alabama, Ansley got to see and prepare for him once again as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Tennessee.
Ansley has seen Tagovailoa's develop from Alabama to now, and knows what challenges he can present to a defense as his unit prepares to square off with him on Sunday.
"On the field, he's really instinctive, ball is out quick, he knows exactly where he's going with it," Ansley said. "He a field general as a freshman, now he's matriculated into what he is now, and now he's a really good player now too."
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