There's a common misconception that the football season lasts from the beginning of training camp until a team is crowned champion at the Super Bowl.
The truth is that some of the most important work is done from April through June during the offseason program. This is when the seeds of the upcoming season are planted, as the work put in now pays major dividends during the grind of the regular season.
So, fans will be happy to hear it's been a fruitful offseason for the Bolts, who'll convene one last time at Hoag Performance Center this week for their mandatory veteran minicamp before parting ways prior to training camp.
"I'm pleased with how the offseason has gone so far," said Casey Hayward. "It's early, and we haven't even put any pads on. We won't (until) the real camp in July. But everyone is passing the eye test. Everybody looks the part, and they're coming in ready to go. It's been good."
However, if you think the team is looking ahead to some rest and relaxation before training camp kicks off, you'd be dead wrong. They know the importance of this week's minicamp, determined to end the offseason program on a high note.
"It's been a good (offseason so far) but we have to go out there these next three days and improve as a team," said Derwin James. "We have to get something out of it and not waste (any) days. We've been productive, and now we have to go out there, improve, make plays on the ball. We've got to make our offense better and defense better."
Browse through the top photos as the Chargers continue offseason training in preparation for minicamp next week.
"We have to go out there, stay healthy and take all our games to the next level," added Keenan Allen. "The young guys, they've got to stay in their playbooks. Make sure when they come back there's no setbacks because you don't want to be learning the plays in training camp. You got to learn them now. So that's big (to get down) this week. I'm very excited. Our camaraderie is getting stronger and stronger each year, and coming off last year what we did, it's exciting. But we've got to focus on each day. And that's minicamp."
Meanwhile, Pro Bowler Adrian Phillips noted the entire offseason program affords players time to tinker with their game. This is the time of year to test out new techniques and mix things up to discover if there is something you can add to your arsenal.
"Everybody being together, finding out what works, finding out what doesn't work — this is your time to see and try something new," Phillips remarked. "Try a new technique and see if you like it. The stuff that you've been working with your little 'guru,' as (Head) Coach (Anthony) Lynn calls it — the stuff you've been working on with them, apply it to the field."
Overall, if you take the pulse of the locker room, there's one sentiment universally repeated over and over again.
"We've got to finish on a high note," said Travis Benjamin. "We have to take advantage of the opportunity we have and finish strong. There's no big difference to me for minicamp to rest of the offseason. We've got to come in here each and every day to get better, and that's what minicamp is. It's just another day to get better. We've got to finish on a high note. Each and every day you go out on that field you've got to make sure you put on good film."