Below are three takeaways from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley, quarterback Easton Stick and cornerback Ja'Sir Taylor's media availability on Thursday:
Getting game ready
The next time the Bolts take the field, it will be against another team for the first time in the 2023 preseason.
The Chargers wrapped up their 12th practice of training camp with a padded session in the lead up to Saturday's preseason opener against the Rams.
Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley has been pleased with the training camp practices so far that have been back and forth, as players have competed at a high level.
Saturday night's preseason opener will be the team's first chance at in-game competition, and Staley noted some of the areas he will have an eye out for against the Rams.
"Tackling. Any time that you tackle live for the first time, that's always something that you're going to try and focus on," Staley said. "Operationally, making sure that we're as clean as we can be in all three phases.
"You're doing something for the first time, some of these rookies have never played in an NFL game," Staley added. "There are a lot of people on the sideline. Just making sure that we're organized, that we give these guys a really clean game plan so that they can go execute and that we can evaluate them."
In terms of who will suit up Saturday and for how long, Staley says it has yet to be determined.
"We're going to take the injury report from today and meet, as a coaching staff, tonight, and kind of map those reps for the ball game," Staley said.
Practices and games offer a lot for a team heading into the new season in terms of evaluation as both offer different things.
Staley broke down how each can be beneficial, pointing out key differences that can only be had in one setting.
"Practice is where it's at because you can control the environment, you can get them through the situations," Staley said. "There is that element of the games that you're getting to see them against different schemes, you can see them apply their rules to some un-scouted looks and tackle other players.
"I think that there is that finishing aspect to the preseason games, which is important, and who can execute under pressure, but practice is probably where we learn the most," Staley added.
Saturday's preseason opener will be big for the development of not only the players, but the coaches as well.
Chargers Defensive Coordinator Derrick Ansley, who is in his first year serving the role, will have an opportunity to call the defense for part of Saturday's game. This is something Staley and his group has done in the past and is a great way to help develop the staff.
"I'll call some of it, and then Derrick will call some of it," Staley said. "We haven't decided exactly, but we've done it in the past here in the preseason. We want to try to create as much opportunity for people to improve. We want to make sure that we get the preseason started off the right way.
"Last year, we did something similar with [former Defensive Coordinator] Renaldo [Hill] and [Wide Receivers Coach] Chris [Beatty]," Staley added. "We're going to make sure that we always do that. I think that it's important for our guys, so that they can develop. You'll see some of that in the preseason."
Check out the best photos from the eleventh day of Training Camp 2023 at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa!
Stick 'excited' to face different opponent
With Justin Herbert unlikely to suit up Saturday, backup quarterback Easton Stick is set to have a big role against the Rams.
The Chargers 2019 fifth-round pick was re-signed during the offseason as the No. 2 behind Herbert and will now play in his fourth preseason for the team. (There was no preseason in 2020).
Stick has been getting consistent reps throughout training camp but talked about his excitement to take the field against another opponent for the first time this season.
"You get to that point about three weeks into it now," Stick said. "You're excited to see something else. Kind of test your skills, test what you've been doing in camp against somebody else.
"Get into that competition, that's what everybody wants," Stick added.
Stick's amount of playing time has not yet finalized, but Staley expects him to play a 'healthy amount'.
The Bolts will rely on Stick a lot Saturday night, as his years of experience and strong camp will be needed.
"A lot. I'm really looking forward to Easton playing a lot in the preseason and getting to show what he can do," Staley said. "He has had an excellent camp. I think that you can see the improvement.
"I told you guys that I think all three years that we've been with him, he has improved as a player," Staley added. "He's going to be a really steady presence for those guys on gameday on Saturday night. Really looking forward to watching him play."
The opener will be the first NFL action for a lot of the younger players on the roster, so Sitck's leadership will be needed — and the back-up quarterback is looking forward to the opportunity.
"It'll be a lot of fun," Stick said. "Obviously, Justin is not playing. Whoever is behind center, whether it's me or Max [Duggan], kind of taking on that position and getting a chance to bring the guys together, go compete and see what happens.
"Like I said, you're looking forward to playing somebody else, somebody in different colors," Stick added. "That will be a big part of it."
Taylor in Year 2
Ja'Sir Taylor's rookie season came fast for the cornerback.
Taylor went from a sixth-round pick to special teams contributor before carving out a role for himself on defense.
And now entering his second season things have slowed down a bit, as he continues to get more and more comfortable.
"Coming out here as a rookie, things move fast," Taylor said. "You're on one field, another field, special teams, defense.
"Just being able to be comfortable, know where I'm going, get my feet set," Taylor added. "That's what's easier."
Taylor has lined up on the inside and outside throughout training camp and has made a number of plays around the football. He's been an integral part of the secondary, as Staley and more have noted his improvement in camp so far.
But the second-year corner's mindset continues to be on improving and helping the team in whatever way he can.
"I would say that it's good," Taylor said. "I'm learning a lot. A lot of things to improve. A lot of things that I'm good at. It's good to just build that trust from my teammates. It's going well."
"I'm just trying to come in here and get better each and every day," Taylor later added. "I'm not sure how the depth chart works. As long as I come here, do what I have to do to improve each and every day, I'm sure I'll be in a position to help this team."
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