Chargers Training Camp is on the horizon, as the Bolts will soon return to work to get ready for the 2022 season. The Chargers will host 10 open practices as they welcome fans back to Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa.
What's in store for the Bolts in camp? Expectations are high, as second-year Head Coach Brandon Staley leads a roster focused on physicality that added numerous new faces this offseason.
Chargers.com will take a glance at each position group leading up to training camp, continuing with the linebackers.
Who's on the roster?
Joey Bosa (7th year in NFL; 7th year with Chargers), Khalil Mack (9; 1), Kyle Van Noy (9; 1), Chris Rumph II (2; 2), Emeke Egbule (4; 4), Jamal Davis II (4; 1), Ty Shelby (1; 1).
Kenneth Murray, Jr. (3rd year in NFL; 3rd year with Chargers), Drue Tranquill (4; 4), Troy Reeder (4; 4), Nick Niemann (2; 2), Amen Ogbongbemiga (2; 2), Tyreek Maddox-Williams (1; 1), Damon Lloyd (2; 2), Cole Christiansen (3; 3).
We'll start on the outside, where the Chargers could potentially have the league's top pass rushing duo in Bosa and Mack.
Bosa is among the premier players at his position, and has collected 58.0 sacks in six seasons. He'll team with Mack — who was acquired in a March trade — and has long been among the elite edge rushers in the league. The 31-year-old has three All-Pro nods, six Pro Bowls and a Defensive Player of the Year award on his resumé, but is also hungry to prove naysayers wrong.
Van Noy has a pair of Super Bowl rings from his time in New England and will provide depth and leadership for this group. Rumph could be in line for a bigger role after a solid rookie season.
Egbule had mostly played special teams in his three seasons with the Bolts, while Davis was added this offseason after spending time with multiple teams in recent seasons. Shelby was added as an undrafted free agent this spring.
Murray leads the group on the inside, and will look to bounce back after only starting six games in 2021 due to injuries. A former first-round pick, he had 100-plus tackles as a rookie.
Tranquill has been solid in three previous seasons, starting 11 games with 1.5 sacks and nine total tackles for loss. Reeder was an offseason addition from the Rams, where he started 25 games. He is familiar with Brandon Staley's defensive scheme.
Niemann played in all 17 games as a rookie and had an interception. Ogbongbemiga made two starts as a rookie and also recorded a sack.
Christiansen played in seven games over the past two years, Lloyd spent the 2021 season on the practice squad and Maddox-Williams was added as an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers.
"It'll be a position that's specifically tailored for him. It's not a position that he hasn't performed before. We're going to try and take advantage of and try to leverage his experiences within our defense. He does bring that versatility to play on the edge or behind the football. He's been a Green Dot before. We're going to try and utilize all those experiences and skillsets to our advantage. I think we're training him the right way. He's providing us a lot from a play-making standpoint, from a leadership standpoint. I'm really excited to join up with him in training camp where his real gifts are going to come to life, which is his toughness, his physicality, his discipline. Those things will really come to life when we get pads on." — Staley on Van Noy's fit in his defense.
One big question… What role will Kenneth Murray Jr. play?
The Chargers traded second- and third-round picks in 2020 to move back into the first round to select Murray, an explosive, playmaking linebacker out of Oklahoma. After a rookie year in which he regularly displayed potential - and made a team-leading 107 tackles for then-head coach Anthony Lynn - Murray struggled last season while battling multiple ankle injuries. He is now rehabilitating from surgery and facing an unknown future as he tries to establish himself in coach Brandon Staley's scheme. The Chargers expect Murray to be ready "at some point" during training camp, Staley said in June. But no one can be certain what to expect when Murray does return, particularly after his inconsistent play in 2021, a performance that clearly was impacted by his health. The Chargers allowed Kyzir White, their leading tackler last year, to depart via free agency and signed Troy Reeder, who played for Staley with the Rams. They also added Kyle Van Noy, a versatile veteran who can play inside. But there is certainly a spot for Murray, who was a 16-game starter as a rookie. How completely he embraces the opportunity will be something to watch once he rejoins his teammates. — (By Jeff Miller of the LA Times).
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