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Three Takeaways: Chargers Focused on Being 'Complete Defense' as Camp Progresses

Hill FTP 08.09

Below are three takeaways from podium sessions on the 11th day of Chargers Training Camp:

Hill talks defensive expectations, importance of getting new additions 'connected'

After Monday off from practice, the Bolts returned to Jack Hammett Sports Complex for the 11th practice of training camp Tuesday. The session was lighter, non-padded and closed to the public.

The defense shined on Tuesday during the 11-on-11 portions of practice, as rookie Ja'Sir Taylor made the play of the day during the 2-munite drill period.

Defensive Coordinator Renaldo Hill, who said he felt the defense played with more energy and played 'more together' than during the team's scrimmage on Sunday, spoke at the podium after practice. Hill detailed his expectations for the Bolts' new look defense as they continue to build chemistry together at practice.

"The biggest thing, just leading off what [Head] Coach [Brandon] Staley talks about, is becoming a complete defense, and that's at all three levels," Hill said. "We definitely want to be a team that stops the run. We want to be a team that, on the back end, takes the ball away.

"But, we know it starts up front with the run game. When we talk about it being a complete game, it's going to take all three levels. We all have to be connected," Hill added.

Because many of the new additions on defense are veteran players, the new unit will have limited live action reps together heading into Week 1 of the 2022 season. With that, Hill explained how important the reps at practice are when it comes to getting the new additions on defense accustomed to playing alongside each other.

"The times that we can get live action and play in pads and get everybody out there together, those moments are important, and we need those," Hill said.

"When those days come up, we have to have everybody ready, but at the same time, it is allowing these young guys to get experience. A lot of times, that's how the season goes. You're expecting to have all of your guys up and ready to roll, but then, in the NFL, something happens," Hill added. "It's important that we all jump into this thing and make sure that we are locked in because, at some point, you don't know who could be out there for you. It's important that we get these good quality reps for everyone out here."

Carter 'loves' the Bolts offense, details connection with Herbert

Through 11 practices at training camp, it seems new wide receiver DeAndre Carter has made a splash play at every practice on offense. His latest big play happened during Sunday's scrimmage as he hauled in a 35-yard strike from quarterback Justin Herbert down at the 2-yard line.

Carter spoke at the podium for the first time at camp about where he sees himself fitting in with the Bolts high-powered offense, and why he already loves the Bolts offensive unit.

"The majority of my career, I've been a returner," Carter said. "But as people can see, I can play receiver, too. That's how I came into the league. I love our offense. We have a lot of freedom. Just trying to get on the same page with Justin and the quarterbacks. It's been good. Just putting in the work."

Since 2018, Carter has appeared in games for four different teams, giving him a wide knowledge of offensive schemes. Carter called Herbert a "cool guy" and "great leader," and detailed why No. 10 has made it so easy to build chemistry with.

"Sometimes when you go to a new team, there's always a period where you're trying to get used to the quarterback, their throwing motion and stuff like that," Carter said. "But, Justin hits you in the chest every time. It's not too much to get used to. Just catch the ball when it comes. It definitely makes it easier."

Carter has also worked up with new special teams coordinator Ryan Ficken as the two enter their first season with the Bolts. Carter gave high praise for Ficken and the rest of the return room.

"He was one of the main reasons why I decided to come here. I was excited to be able to work for him," Carter said. "We've got a great return room. Joe Reed back there, [Michael Bandy back there. We have a great unit. A lot of return units, the returner gets a lot of the credit, but you have to have 10 other guys that block that are willing to put their body on the line to set up the return to give us the holes to hit."

Palmer on continued development, learning from Keenan Allen

Wide receiver Joshua Palmer caught four touchdowns during an impressive rookie campaign for the Bolts in 2021.

Heading into Year 2 with the Bolts, Palmer now looks to cement himself as the team's No. 3 wide receiver behind Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Palmer, who explained he's laser focused on making plays at training camp, talked about where he felt his game has improved over the past year.

"I feel like I've learned a lot more, just at the receiver position," Palmer said. "Within the offense, it's slowing down because I know where players have to be.

"Now, it's just the little things of where you have to end up," Palmer added. "From last year, it's pretty much just learning more about the receiver position by hanging out with Keenan a lot."

For Palmer, the 10-year NFL vet in Allen has been a huge resource when it comes to taking his game to the next level. Palmer explained how much film he watches of himself and Allen, even showing Allen some of his tape Tuesday morning and picking his brain on different routes.

"I watch his tape almost every day. This offseason was pretty much just reviewing what I did last season and seeing how much better I've gotten," Palmer said.

Palmer explained he goes all the way back to Allen's rookie year in 2013 to study his film, also describing what he specifically looks for in Allen's film.

"I'm looking for how he gets off the ball, how he releases, his top of the route, his in-between the route," Palmer said. "It's pretty much un-matchable. If I could get as close as possible, then I'll be good. Just add it to my game and what I have."

Safe to say Palmer is in the perfect environment alongside Allen to continue his growth as a receiver heading into his second year in Los Angeles.

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