The Los Angeles Chargers coaching staff is at Chargers Park this week, meeting together for the first time under Head Coach Anthony Lynn. A key addition this season is Gus Bradley, who joins the Chargers as defensive coordinator after spending the past four years as the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach.
Bradley took a few moments from his hectic schedule to discuss his thoughts about joining the Bolts:
Chargers.com:First of all, congrats and welcome aboard. What has been your initial impression during your first week with the Los Angeles Chargers?
Bradley:I'm very excited to be here and work with Coach Lynn. We have a relationship over the past couple years that has grown. I know what he's all about, what he represents and what he brings to a team. So that's been awesome. And then meeting the rest of the staff, and seeing it come together on offense, defense and special teams; it's a very cool thing to be a part of and watch it grow right in front of us.
Chargers.com:The biggest question many fans have right now is whether we'll be switching from a 3-4 to the 4-3 system you've run in the past. What type of scheme will you be installing?
Bradley: I think most people would categorize us as a 4-3 with just enough elements of a 3-4.
Chargers.com:How hard of a transition will the new scheme be for our players?
Bradley:Well, I think the players we have here is why it was a good fit (for me to come to the Chargers). When you look at the personnel and what they've done in the past, especially what they've done really well, you can start picturing these players in our defense and realize it's a pretty good fit. The pieces in place here are a really good fit for what we'll do scheme wise. Right now (I'm breaking down film on our) players, and I'm looking at their skillset and what they do well. Every time you put in a defense, your objective is to get the ball. That is our overall objective. So you look at putting players in the best position possible utilizing their skillset. So when I watch tape, I'm trying to find out what their skill set is. And within that scheme, trying to design it so they are in the best possible position to utilize it.
Chargers.com:What are your core philosophies when it comes to running a defense?
Bradley:We believe in simplicity. Now, simplicity doesn't mean easy. We just want to create a defense that allows players to come in here, play early and play fast. So it's play hard, play fast, play smart and play together. Now, we have a lot of work to do to get to that point. But that's what we are hoping for. That's going to be our style. We've got some work to do before we get on the field for OTAs, but I'm really excited about how it's all coming together.
Chargers.com:It's impossible to discuss the defense and not talk about Joey Bosa, especially after the 21-year old was just named the Defensive Rookie of the Year. What is your impression of Joey and how does he fit your defense?
Bradley:What a great year he had. You talk about a competitor! There is a lot that goes into being able to come in that early into the NFL and play at the level he played at his first year. I knew when we were scouting Joey Bosa (while with the Jaguars) that this is the player he is with his work ethic. Football is extremely important to him, and he is highly competitive. When you put on the tape and watch it, that is what you see play in and play out. He had a fabulous first year, and now the challenge is we have to add to it.
Chargers.com:You obviously had the Legion of Boom in Seattle, and now you have two Pro Bowl cornerbacks in Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward. What do you see when you look at our secondary?
Bradley:Like Bosa, those are two guys where football is so important to them. They don't want to be good; they want to be great. I'm so excited, but I'm not the type of coach who singles out one or two guys but obviously there are some very good players on this side of the ball. I just look to keep helping them get better, and we'll grow through this whole thing.
Chargers.com:How much did those young stars on defense play a role in you wanting to come coach the Bolts?
Bradley:I'm excited to coach everybody, but of course it's exciting to have players like that. But what really is more so for me is that when you have good players like that, they have the ability to elevate everybody around them. That is what is so exciting. They know a standard, other players will learn that standard, and together we will raise it as a whole.
Chargers.com:One player you already have a relationship with is Brandon Mebane, who you coached in Seattle. What's it going to be like coaching Brandon again after four years away?
Bradley:Any time you have a chance to be with a player like Brandon it's great. Scheme and winning is important, but so much of what we do is about relationships. It's a very big part of it, so when you build those relationships with the players like (Brandon and I) have, it's awesome. Reuniting with him and seeing that familiar face in the building is going to be great.
Chargers.com:You faced the Chargers every single year you were head coach for the Jaguars. What stood out about the Bolts during those meetings?
Bradley:The first thing is how hard they competed. The players *always *competed no matter if it was the wide receivers, defensive line or any position. It was great. And I don't know if there is anybody better, and it's the perception around the league, that Philip Rivers is one of the greatest competitors in the NFL. The quarterback is usually known as the face of the franchise and all that, and that is his mentality. He is highly competitive, and that's the mindset (that stuck out) when we played. That's what was so intriguing about this team.
Chargers.com:Finally, what does the next month look like for you in terms of evaluating the players, working with the new coaches, scouting draft prospects, potential free agent targets and so forth?
Bradley:There are many things that need to take place. We have free agency and the draft, but we also have to install our defense. We split up our day and try to knock off chunks during each part. It's a lot, but it really is a great staff that we're working with. I'm excited about putting it all together. There is a lot of good ideas on this staff, and I really rely on the experience they have.