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Why Brandon Staley Loves the Starting 5 on the Bolts O-Line

FTP Day 3 TC

Below are three takeaways from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley, wide receiver Keenan Allen and linebacker Eric Kendricks' media availability on Saturday:

Assessing the O-Line

Week 1 of Chargers Training Camp is in the books.

The Bolts finished off Saturday morning after another high-energy day without pads at Jack Hammett Sports Complex. The team will have a day off on Sunday before resuming on Monday.

And a big step will also be made in the coming days — pads will come on for the first time this offseason.

It's the first time both the offensive and defensive lines will get to got through live contact and will be a big part of their evaluation. But that doesn't mean you can't evaluate them without pads as well.

Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley noted that when examining the first few days of camp in the trenches, most of it comes from building successful habits and foundations that will be necessary when the pads do come on in the next couple of days and beyond.

"I think you're really looking for the playstyle through the whistle, you're looking for that," Staley said. "On offense, your O-line covering the runner, the receivers. On D-line, the pursuit and the swarm, coming out of the stack and chasing the football. You want to really create those habits when you're not in pads.

"Then, when you're in pads, that's when you establish the pad level, that's when you establish really fitting your pads in your hands," Staley added. "You don't really get that until the pads come on. I think those two things are really important to us and something that we really emphasize when we're not in pads."

Check out some shots of the Bolt Fam pouring into the Jack Hammett Sports Complex for the opening of Chargers Training Camp 2023!

When the pads do come on, it will be the first look at the reshuffled offensive line that features the return of All-Pro tackle Rashawn Slater and a pair of Year 2 players, Zion Johnson and Jamaree Salyer, moving to the other side of the line.

The group's skillset and characteristics mesh well together, and it will be an integral part of the new look offense.

Staley praised the starting unit and talked about how the mix of experience between them can work in their favor this season.

"That starting five has really good chemistry together. That's exciting for us," Staley said. "You've seen [T] Rashawn [Slater] out here the first three days, he looks really, really good. He had a really good offseason. The two young guards, the amount of experience that they were able to get last year, I think that really gives us an advantage.

"For being so young, they've played a lot of football," Staley added. "Starting every game last year, [G] Zion [Johnson], and then, [OL] Jamaree [Salyer], after that third game on, he started every single game at left tackle. You factor that in with [C] Corey [Linsley] and his experience, we love our starting five."

And even with the starting group set, Staley remains high on those behind the starting five.

Staley spoke highly about the depth throughout the line, which will have their chance to shine and stand out when the pads do come on in a couple of days.

"But I think where we're a lot better is six through 10," Staley said. "I think we have guys like [T] Foster [Sarell] and [C/G] Will [Clapp], those guys have started games for us — [G/T] Brendan [Jaimes], [OL] Jordan [McFadden], [T] Zack Bailey, who we're really high on.

"There's going to be really good competition for those six through 10 spots," Staley added.

Allen praises Palmer's work ethic

Wide receiver Keenan Allen likes what he's seen from his fellow wide receivers and offense as a whole so far.

The longest-tenured member of the Bolts "feels good" entering Year 11 and had some great early impressions of how the high-flying offense has looked over the first couple of days.

"It feels good. Everything feels good right now," Allen said. "I feel like we're doing pretty good going from where we left off in OTAs. Just trying to put it all together.

"[Offensive Coordinator] Kellen [Moore] is definitely opening the playbook up a little bit early in camp and letting [QB] Justin [Herbert] throw it down the field," Allen added.

The Chargers wide receiver core has been one of the more talked about positions on the team, with the team having one of the best groups in the league from top to bottom.

Allen spoke highly of the group, including Joshua Palmer, who enters a big Year 3 following an impressive sophomore campaign.

Palmer's second season saw him step up in a big way and Allen believes that the third-year receiver is motivated.

"He's hungry," Allen said about Palmer. "He can definitely feel that he knows what's going on, he doesn't want to let that diminish what he did last year. He was big for us last year, given when me and Mike [Williams] went down, he became No. 1 for several weeks.

"He's definitely a guy who can step in and play with us, as well," Allen added. "He's definitely going to work hard and do what he can to make sure he's still that guy."

Palmer saw his number be called upon following injuries to Allen and Williams in 2022 — and he produced in a big way with the second-most receiving yards (769) on the team. Although he missed some of the offseason training, Palmer has made his big plays on offense early in camp so far.

And one of the things that sticks out the Allen the most about Palmer is his work ethic, as he pointed to his willingness to always try and improve.

"The way he works, he's still asking me questions and stuff like that," Allen said. "He shows up early to practice; out there working on his routes and getting in-and-out of his breaks before we even start walkthrough.

"A guy like Palmer, you know he is going to put in the work," Allen added.

Check out the best photos from the second day of Training Camp 2023 at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa!

Kendricks on 1st training camp in SoCal

It's been a California homecoming for linebacker Eric Kendricks since he joined the Bolts back in March — and he's enjoyed every part of it.

The former All-Pro linebacker has kicked off his first training camp with his new team and he's done it back in Southern California, a place he's very familiar with.

Kendricks reflected on having the opportunity to play back where he played collegiately, adding his appreciation for how things have worked out.

"It's a huge part of me," Kendricks said. "I've just been telling my wife, I've been having so much fun. Just smiling in the California sunshine.

"It's crazy how everything works out," Kendricks added. "I really feel blessed."

Kendricks has been getting comfortable in his new defense, and training camp will be a big part in preparing for when the season comes.

But regardless, Kendricks has been enjoying all of it so far and is looking forward to keeping it going.

"It's been fun. It's been fun to get to know the guys," Kendricks said. "Obviously, I'm getting a deeper understanding of the defense. I got familiar with it in the spring a little bit.

"It's been better for me this camp," Kendricks added. "I'm excited to keep learning."

And one thing is for sure — Kendricks is looking forward to continuing the battles between the offense and the defense as camp moves along.

"It's going to be great. I'm looking forward to some more," Kendricks said. "I feel like I haven't gotten enough yet, so let's do it."

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