Tom Pelissero is among the most plugged-in people around the league, and has a strong pulse as anyone on the NFL.
The NFL Network reporter attended Saturday morning's practice at Jack Hammett Sports Complex and offered his thoughts on the Bolts to Chargers.com.
Pelissero's biggest takeaway? He wouldn't be surprised if the Chargers are among the final teams playing in the postseason.
"They're built to be in the race in January," Pelissero said. "I think we'll learn some things in those first couple of games with the Raiders here and then the Chiefs in Kansas City. But that's not the whole season, either.
"Whether you're 2-0 or 0-2, there's still going to be an evolution here," Peissero continued. "It's just such a treacherous path to get through that division. Would anybody be totally shocked if all four teams in the division make the playoffs? No.
"But the Chargers are equipped to, and if [Justin] Herbert takes another step in Year 3, I don't know how you don't look at them as a threat to win the whole thing," Pelissero added.
Pelissero had more to say on Herbert, too, noting that the 24-year-old is well-respected around the league, with many believing his stock is on the rise.
"Herbert is looked at as a top-10 quarterback in the NFL already going into Year 3," Pelissero said. "And he's somebody with upside, where in the future, he could be ranked even higher than that. He can do some special things."
Pelissero added: "The moment he stepped foot on the field and began playing … everybody saw what he has the potential to be. Entering Year 3, he's look at as one of the best young quarterbacks in the game."
Pelissero also offered praise for Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley.
"Brandon is very smart, very cerebral. He looks at the game is a very analytical way, but he's able to communicate it that everybody can understand — his players, other coaches, fans," Pelissero said. "I think in the modern NFL, there's tremendous value in that. We have too much outcome-based analysis, and what Brandon tries to do is make the best decisions based upon the data at hand.
"Sometimes it's going to work and sometimes it's not, and that comes down to execution, among other things," Pelissero added. "But he has a plan, and he had a cultural plan coming in here. It's a belief that he has a path to get everybody on the same page."
And as for and Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco, Pelissero said there may not be a better GM in the league in terms of recent first-round picks.
From 2016 to 2022, Telesco and his staff added Joey Bosa, Mike Williams, Derwin James, Jr., Herbert and Rashawn Slater, among others, to the roster. Even 2022 first-rounder Zion Johnson has drawn the respect of his teammates with his stellar play through nine camp practices.
"You have to give a huge credit to the roster that Tom Telesco has built," Pelissero said. "I don't know that any GM, in the first round, has a better [track] record than Tom. He's hit in the later rounds, too.
"And to know your needs and go out and get Corey Linsley, to get J.C. [Jackson] and Khalil [Mack] this year," Pelissero added. "He and Brandon working together, it's a team that has star power all over the field."
Pelissero also singled out the Bolt Fam, as he took noticed of a jam-packed setup to watch the ninth practice of Chargers Training Camp.
Time will tell how the Bolts fare in 2022, but Pelissero is sure the team will have plenty of support along the way.
"The first thing that struck me driving in was the sheer number of Chargers fans here. I know it's a Saturday, but there's a party out on the lawn and it is literally standing room only," Pelissero said. "There is not an empty seat here. You can feel the energy, and it's people who are ready to watch a winner."
"The pieces are in place," Pelissero later added about the Bolts. "This is team that's equipped to compete, both right now and for the future."
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