Below are three takeaways from the first day of Chargers Training Camp. Head Coach Brandon Staley talked about the incredible fan support, Khalil Mack noted he is "hungry" this season and Justin Herbert outlined his personal goals for 2022.
Excitement at training camp
Jack Hammett Sports Complex was the place to be for Bolts fans on Wednesday as it marked the official start of the Chargers Training Camp. Fans packed the stands in Costa Mesa to catch their favorite Chargers players and to see live action football for the first time since the season ended six months ago.
Fans were ready bright and early to catch the action as gates opened to the complex at 8 a.m.. Among those excited for training camp was Head Coach Brandon Staley who enters his second season with the Bolts.
"There's nothing better in pro sports than training camp around your fans," Staley said. "This is where you make a lot of memories happen. I know how important it is for our organization and our players. We hope to give them a great three or four weeks of camp."
Quarterback Justin Herbert spoke to members of the media as well on Wednesday as he enters his third season as the Bolts' signal caller. Herbert talked how the first day of camp went and what it means to reunite with his teammates after having just over a month break from team activities.
"The day went well. There was a lot of energy out of our guys," Herbert said. "It's always tough spending so much time away from the facility, away from your teammates, but it was good to have everyone back out there today. Everyone looked good, sharp, so there is a lot to look forward to."
New additions in action on Day 1
Training camp also gave the chance for the Chargers to showcase the new weapons added to both sides of the ball with players like Mack, cornerback J.C. Jackson, OLB Kyle Van Noy and more making their training camp debut in the powder blue uniforms.
The new additions on the Chargers defense wasted no time making their presence felt when the team went in to the live 11-on-11 portion of practice. Following practice, Staley talked about what he saw out on the practice field from the newly assembled defense.
"We brought in guys that really love this game, that have incredible makeup as competitors," Staley said. "Normally, when you bring people like that together, then you will have that team spirit, a team that believes in one another. That's certainly what we're after. To see it take shape out here in training camp on the first practice, I like that, as a coach. I expect it to continue to grow as we go."
Mack, who expressed his desire to win a championship at this point in his career, talked about what it has been like lining up across from fellow OLB Joey Bosa since joining the team and what he's seen from the new look Chargers defense after the first day of camp.
"First off, it's always a blessing when you get to play this game, the game of football," Mack said." I love this game and to have, like you said, the talent that we have out here, it starts with this. It starts with the work. My expectations for myself are always high. I'm not going to display or tell what they are, but I expect you guys to be able to see it when I touch the field."
Mack talked about leading by example when it comes to the type of leader he is. When asked about how hungry he is to win as he heads into his ninth NFL season, Mack had a passionate response.
"You want to know how hungry I am? I'll show you."
Herbert got a front row seat to the new defense on Wednesday and gave some insight into what it's like to play against Bosa and Mack.
"It's really exciting to watch," Herbert said. "The edge rushers are going to be a little difficult to deal with sometimes during practice, but it's a fun challenge and I'm looking forward to it."
Herbert's goals for Year 3
With a historic sophomore season under his belt in 2021, Herbert now heads into his third season with new goals in mind and challenges to face.
With the start of the season just over a month away, Herbert explained what he plans to accomplish in year three.
"My personal goal is just to be the best quarterback and teammate that I can be," he said. "I try not to look too much into statistics. I think that can kind of skew or throw you off from what you are trying to accomplish. As long as I work hard and do the right things on and off the field, I think we'll be in good shape."
Herbert enters 2022 in the same offensive system that Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi installed in 2021, allowing the offense to be "miles ahead" of where it was just a year ago, according to Herbert. Despite the buzz the Bolts have generated this offseason and being the face of the franchise, Herbert explained he doesn't feel the pressure under the bright lights of the NFL spotlight.
"There is no pressure on us," Herbert said. "The only pressure that you make is what you put on yourself. I think, as a team, we have the pieces, we have the athletes and competitors. As long as we're doing our best and we're asking each other what we want to do ourselves, I don't think there's much more that you can ask of."
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