Below are three takeaways from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley, defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day, linebacker Eric Kendricks and safety Derwin James, Jr.'s media availability on Tuesday:
Joseph-Day's offseason baking analogy
The Bolts held their first mandatory minicamp practice Tuesday, and the team has one practice more before a five-week break until training camp.
The focus in recent weeks has been 7-on-7 drills, which means plenty of work for skill position players on both sides of the ball.
But even with no full team reps on the docket, players such as Sebastian Joseph-Day still believe he and other linemen get a lot out of minicamp on a personal level.
"Oh, everything," Joseph-Day said. "You lift and go out and do drills. It's training in the offseason, the same thing for me. You gain everything. You get to work on your footwork. You get to work on hand placement, get-off. You get to watch film.
"Honestly, it's crazy, each year when you watch yourself the previous year and you see yourself now and how much you've grown when it comes to footwork and stuff like that, it's really cool," Joseph-Day added.
Joseph-Day, who's almost never at a loss for words, then provided his own analogy on his offseason process.
"The offseason is kind of like baking a cake," Joseph-Day said. "I know it's a weird analogy, but you can't skip one step.
"Each phase, at least with me and my training, you need to do this — you have to get the eggs, you have to [break] the yolk," Joseph-Day added. "It's step-by-step. You have to put the baking soda in, you can't take the cake out too soon. It's step-by-step.
"The way I approach it, yeah, it would obviously but fun, but I'm Year 6 in now," Joseph-Day added. "I really have a good schedule. I feel like a lot of vet guys have a good feel of how they ramp themselves up to make sure they're peaking come August and July."
Joseph-Day also expressed his excitement working with this defensive unit throughout the offseason programs after last season was plagued by injuries.
The defensive lineman entering his second year with the Bolts knows another year with the group can spell good things this year, as they are now over a year removed from the offseason that saw a lot of new faces join the fold.
"[Defensive Run Game Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach Jay Rodgers] has done a phenomenal job, all the coaches have done a phenomenal job this year," Joseph-Day said. "I really feel we're definitely way more connected this year as a whole defensive unit.
"I think that's just what we needed, we needed time just to gel together and I think now it's definitely going to show this year so I'm excited about that," Joseph-Day added.
Chargers continue high-level practices
The practice on Tuesday was high level with the arrival of minicamp.
Energy has been something that has been touted by both the coaches and players thus far, and Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley maintained that Tuesday's practice was no different.
"It was good energy, this group's had a really good approach to the offseason and today the level was high out there," Staley said on Tuesday. "The guys practiced hard, now we'll finish it off tomorrow."
Linebacker Eric Kendricks, who is one of the new additions on the roster heading into 2023, has taken notice of the standard the team has set in his short time here.
And while the Bolts have been practicing at that level, the arrival of the mandatory minicamp signals to the veteran linebacker the season is getting closer.
"We're keeping it tight," Kendricks said. "It's kind of standard out here, but it's getting real.
"The season is around the corner," Kendricks added. "So I guess, in a sense, yeah, it is [feeling different]."
The team will have one more minicamp practice on Wednesday before they break for training camp in July, something Kendricks believes will be a good challenge and an opportunity to improve the team.
The All-Pro linebacker had compliments for the offense and what he's seen from them so far, setting up a very competitive training camp.
"I think that will definitely present us with a bigger challenge. I think you want that, right?," Kendricks said. "You never want that to be one-sided in training camp. You always want it to be back-and-forth.
"I think what they're doing over there, it's definitely going to be a very competitive training camp," Kendricks said. "The stuff they're showing is really unique and really awesome to see. It's refreshing. It's some stuff that we've seen in our opponents and some stuff that they've done to us. It's really cool to see. I'm really excited for [QB] Justin [Herbert] and those guys to have [Offensive Coordinator] Kellen Moore over there."
James expresses confidence in Gilman
Safety Alohi Gilman could be slated to step into a big role in 2023.
The fourth-year safety has seen his role grow progressively throughout his first three years in the NFL, including starting in five games last season — a career-high for him in a single campaign.
Gilman could now have a bigger opportunity this season to grow even more alongside All-Pro safety Derwin James, Jr., who has high confidence in his fellow safety.
"A lot of confidence in Lo," James said. "He's a guy that's consistent. Everyone here counts on him. Everyone knows that he's going to be where he needs to be.
"He's getting better. He's making calls. He's confident," James added. "It's exciting being out there. It's been a lot of fun, a lot of energy out there, honestly."
Gilman played in all 17 games last season and racked up 58 total tackles (35 solo) and three passes defended. His lone interception came late in Week 5 against the Browns to help seal a win.
Chargers Defensive Coordinator Derrick Ansley praised Gilman's growth in many aspects both on and off the field last week, a sentiment James echoed Tuesday.
"How we're bonding as DBs, he's bringing us closer," James said of Gilman's impact. "I'm one of the guys that's a leader, but he's bringing us closer together.
"After every play, every time we are taking the field, it's been just a joy going to take the field with him, honestly," James added.
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