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Three Takeaways: Matt Feiler Takes Notice of Zion Johnson's Progression


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

Feiler praises Zion Johnson & Jamaree Salyer

Chargers Training Camp featured another action-packed day in pads Tuesday.

The session featured 1-on-1 drills between the offensive and defensive lineman for the second straight day, with veteran guard Matt Feiler proving why he's one of the Bolts top linemen. After practice, Feiler explained how competing against players like OLB's Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack forces the O-line to play with their 'best technique' each rep at practice.

With full pads on at practice for the past two days, Feiler also talked about why he's felt a noticeable increase in intensity out on the field.

"I think it's just getting the pads on for the first time in a while, just finally being able to hit and make contact with each other," Feiler said. "Plus, with the fans coming out yesterday you kind of have that excitement in the air. I think the intensity turned up a little yesterday, a little bit more today just knowing we're getting that much closer to games."

Two rookie guards have made an impact early in camp with Chargers' first-round draft pick Zion Johnson already getting high praise from fellow linemen in center Corey Linsley and left tackle Rashawn Slater. Feiler said on Tuesday he feels Johnson can be a 'lock-down guard' in the NFL and also took notice in the Chargers' sixth-round draft pick in Jamaree Slayer.

"Big, big guy," Feiler said of the rookie guard who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds. "He's strong. He uses his size well. He's another one of those guys that has a hard work ethic. He's going to be good, too."

During the 1-on-1 portion of practice, Feiler also went head-to-head with two of the Chargers new defensive linemen in Austin Johnson and Morgan Fox. With six practices in the books, Feiler detailed the skillset and strength Johnson brings to the Chargers D-line.

"He's going to be one of those power guys," Feiler said. "He also mixes in his hands well. He's definitely one of those guys that wants to keep you on your toes. He's going to use both of his abilities to keep doing that."

Troy Reeder: Bolts have makings of a championship-caliber team

Before the start of training camp, new Chargers linebacker Troy Reeder received the Super Bowl LVI ring he won with the Los Angeles Rams back in February. On Tuesday, Reeder talked about what he learned from winning the Super Bowl last year and why he feels the Bolts have 'what it takes' to go the distance in 2022.

"The habits that we're creating right now are stuff that is going to drive us all the way through September, October, November, and then hopefully into mid-February," Reeder said. "Just the little things about what it takes and how to stay healthy and do the right things every single day.

"I was blessed to be around a group that did do it the right way every day and coming out and competing. I see so many similarities in that here," Reeder added. "I think this team has what it takes. We just have to put it all together and keep competing in practice and making each other better."

Reeder talked about the importance of having leaders in all three phases of the game, and what makes a defense come together as the Chargers new additions get acclimated with one another.

"I think the best defenses are kind of a group of friends, guys that all know each other to some capacity outside of the game of football," Reeder said. "That's why I love camp. There are some of us that have — [Chargers Head] Coach [Brandon] Staley allows the vets to stay at their own places through camp — but there is a big group of us that have opted to stay at the hotel just to have that camp feel and to grind together. We're hitting snack late night together and doing all of that. I think those are little things."

Reeder already has a good friend on the Bolts defense as he reunites with Nasir Adderley, who played collegiately at Delaware with Reeder. He explained what it means to again team up with Adderley, who picked off quarterback Justin Herbert during an 11-on-11 period on Tuesday.

"We talk about it all the time," Reeder said. "It's cool because we started playing together when we were 19 years old. Being able to see how far we've come, it's not by accident.

"That's one of the hardest working dudes I've been around," Reeder added. "He and I were super competitive when we were in college. I think it brought the best out of each other and I know it's going to do the same here."

Ficken evaluates new special teams additions

New Special Teams Coordinator Ryan Ficken joins the Bolts in 2022 after 15 seasons coaching for the Minnesota Vikings. As the special teams reps rev up at practice, Ficken spoke to the media Tuesday for the first time at camp.

Ficken explained the core players on special teams are "buying in," and highlighted some new additions, beginning starting with new punter JK Scott. Fickemn noted his ability to add some serious hangtime to his punts.

"He's been doing a great job with his operation in terms of getting that ball off quickly," Ficken said. "Great job with our directional punts whenever we're asking of him. That hang time, yesterday he had 11 punts where they were about a five-second hang time. That's what we need from him. But, again, we need to make sure that we continue to do that on a consistent basis and allow our team to flip the field and give our defense a long field so that we can go ahead and do what we do on defense, getting the ball back to our offense."

Wide receiver and return specialist DeAndre Carter has made shown flashes of not only a dangerous return man, but also a weapon on the Bolts offense as a wideout. Ficken explained what he's seen from Carter over the past six practices.

"I've been very impressed with the way that he is, in terms of him being a professional and the way that he approaches the game," Ficken said. "The way that every time he steps on the field, he means business. His acceleration and his burst, I think, is better than what you see on tape. I'm really pleased with where he is at, pleased with all of the other returners. They're working hard out there to win those spots, too. We're not solidified, but we know who we have. We have to make sure that we continue to improve in those situations in that position."

Reeder who also has contributed as a special teams player throughout his career, lining up at punt guard during his time with the Rams, talked about his impressions of Ficken as the two join a new team together.

"You can tell it's a guy that people love to play for and have enjoyed it, and I certainly have so far," Reeder said. "I've played for a different special teams coach every year and I'm still learning a lot. He's been great for me — and Coach Beep [Assistant Special Teams Coach Chris Gould], as well."

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