Below are three takeaways from podium sessions on the fifth day of Chargers Training Camp:
Nasir Adderley's development in Year 2 of defensive scheme
Last season Chargers safety Nasir Adderley set a new career-high in tackles with 99 combined tackles, 30 more than the previous season.
Now in his fourth season, Adderley has stepped up his leadership on the Bolts defense at this year's training camp. During the 11-on-11 drill in the red zone, Adderley showed off his athleticism as he nearly picked off Herbert with a diving play.
Adderley talked after practice about what's allowed him to take his game to the next level, including when to 'step on the gas' and be patient on defense.
"Year 2 in the system, it's always going to be very beneficial because you're out there thinking," Adderley said. "Now you're able to look at it more — you're able to look at the quarterback's tendencies, you're able to look at where the receivers align and the down-and-distances and all of that. When you're not thinking about what you have to do, you're able to look at a lot more and play a lot faster. It's definitely been really beneficial."
Defensive Coordinator Renaldo Hill explained last week how Adderley's game has evolved and the bigger role he's stepped into at camp.
"Now, he has a calmness to him," Hill said of Adderley. "He understands when to use the gas and when not to. He's becoming more of a quarterback back there. With Derwin [James] not back there, he's the main signal-caller back there. It's allowing him to express himself in this scheme. I really like what I see; it's no second-guessing. He's going to the right spots at the right time. He's looking really sharp back there."
Pads and 1-on-1s ramp up the competition at practice
The Bolts cranked up the intensity and physicality Monday at Jack Hammett Sports Complex for the team's fifth practice of training camp with two words: full pads.
After having a day off from practice on Sunday, the Chargers jumped right back into training camp with an action-packed practice Monday. The first practice in pads put on a show for fans in attendance as it featured 1-on-1 drills, with the spotlight on the trenches.
Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley took note of the intensity the Bolts showed when the competition ramped up and how important 1-on-1 drills are when it comes to evaluating each athlete.
Among those battling it out in 1-on-1s were tackle Rashawn Slater and edge rushers Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa. Staley talked about what he saw as the offensive and defensive line tested their skills on each other for the first time at practice.
"It's great work for Joey and Khalil, too, because Rashawn is one of the top tackles in all of football, and we think Trey and Storm are really quality tackles, so those guys are going to make each other better," Staley sad. "I thought the young guards today showed that they have what it takes. Matt Feiler is so steady; sometimes you forget what a good player he is."
During the full speed 11-on-11 portion of practice, the focus was put on red-zone plays and the 2-minute drill for the first time at camp. Staley explained what he's looking for from his perspective when it comes to the 11-on-11 drills in pads.
"The style of play — the pace, the tempo, the contact, making sure that you're keeping each other safe," Staley said. "You're going fierce, but you're keeping each other safe — how the rushers are with the quarterback, how the defensive players are with the backs and receivers that are carrying the football, and that your substitutions are good in and out. Can you keep your same pace when you put the pads on? I saw a good football team out there."
Staley said the team will practice in pads again on Tuesday, this time with practice closed to the public.
Corey Linsley: "O-Line is all about cohesion"
Center Corey Linsley was a starter in the Pro Bowl in his first season with the Bolts, joining offensive teammates Justin Herbert and Slater at the game.
The Pro Bowl and All-Pro center knows a thing or two about what makes an offensive line a successful group in the NFL. With the competition ongoing between Pipkins and Norton for the starting right tackle spot, Linsley talked about the work the two tackles have put in during the offseason and the key finding success as an O-line.
"In O-line world, it's all about cohesion. You have to know what the guy next to you is thinking. You have to communicate. One of us can't succeed unless the rest of the guys playing next to you can," Linsley said. "For those two guys, they've been battling their butts off and they've been working all offseason. I know both of them have put in more work this offseason than they have ever before. We just want the best five out there, but we know that we have a really good room."
Just five practices in, Chargers players and coaches have given rookie guard Zion Johnson high praise for his performance. Linsley echoed that high praise for Johnson and explained how like Herbert, Johnson is also cool, calm and collected on the football field.
"He's very talented," Linsley said. "I'm excited to play next to him. He's calm. He's a calm, collected individual that is smart as hell. There's really not a whole lot that I've seen where I'm like, 'Eh.' He's just a calm, confident individual who loves playing ball."
Take a look back at the first week of Chargers Training Camp 2022 in monochrome
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