Below are three takeaways from Chargers Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore, Chargers Defensive Coordinator Derrick Ansley, linebacker Eric Kendricks and guard Jordan McFadden following their media availability on Friday:
Making football fun again
The Chargers have kept the good energy on the practice this week in the lead up to their primetime matchup against the Jets on Monday Night Football.
With many players and coaches noting the high-energy in last week's practices, the Bolts responded to it with a win and have taken the field this week with that same approach.
And specifically on defense, the unit is attacking the week the same way coming off of a big performance.
Chargers Defensive Coordinator Derrick Ansley and the group emphasized consistency heading into Monday night, as they all look to build on the momentum on the practice field and in the preparation.
"We're the same defense," Ansley said. "We just got to continue to do things that we stress on. Running to the ball, practicing the right way. You get better out there on that field and once you put the work in out there, usually you get the dividend returns on Sunday and Monday."
Linebacker Eric Kendricks added: "We had success last week, but there's a reason why. We have to trust our preparation and the way we do things. Just know that it's contagious. Now we know what we can expect and put it together for one game, it's about stacking the games. Can we do it for two, for three, for the rest of the season? Let's keep this thing consistent."
And something new that's helped with these good vibes on the defensive side? A celebration committee that was formed last week.
A committee of defensive lineman, linebackers and other members of the secondary have a hand in coming up with celebration ideas the group will do after forcing a turnover in the game.
And the committee was in the spotlight last Sunday night, as the Bolts responded with a group celebration after each of their two turnovers in Week 8.
Ansley had a hand in creating the committee, and it has been something he believed the group responded to well.
"They had a lot to do with it, they took a liking to that," Ansley said Friday. "I thought that was definitely a boost of energy for the group and it gave them a little ownership.
"I think you saw some of that personality show, so we've just got to build off that," Ansley added.
The players have been all for it, as it's allowed them to have a bit of fun while also having a way to showcase themselves after all the work and preparation that goes into the week.
"You've got to have fun with it. We work too hard to not have fun," said Kendricks, who is a part of the committee. "We want to win, but winning is fun. When you have fun on game day, it can give you momentum and a little bit of life. It can inspire your teammates. It's about celebrating the hard work you put in together."
Cornerback Ja'Sir Taylor, who is also a part of the committee, added: "It does help a lot. We want to showcase the celebrations we've been working on all week in practice. In order to do that, we've got to go out and execute and get the ball just to show the celebration. So it's an extra little push to get those turnovers."
It could seem like a small thing, but at the end of the day, committee was formed as a way for players to be able to showcase their personality and have some fun playing the game.
"At this level, it is a game, but it's also their job and their profession," Ansley said. "There's a fine line, but at the end of the day, it is a game, and you have to approach it that way. There are no perfect players, no perfect coaches, no perfect schemes. You just have to make sure that you don't ride the wave and continue to keep the main thing the main thing and feed off each other.
"That's the beauty of football — you have 11 guys out there and all 11 guys may not have the same energy, but maybe there may be that one that sparks and that may get us all energized," Ansley added. "That's the beauty of football."
As for what's in store this week?
It's back to the drawing board.
"First week of the celebration committee was good," Kendricks said. "We have to get back to the drawing board. New game, new approach. Let's see what else we can muster up."
"We're a little bit behind [this week]," Taylor said. "We haven't gotten together yet and came up with our celebrations but trust me, we'll have something for Monday night when we get some turnovers."
McFadden gets snaps at fullback
Jordan McFadden was met with quite the surprise last week.
The Bolts rookie offensive lineman hadn't played a single snap on offense through six games, but that was about to change against the Bears in Week 8.
"I literally walked in the meeting and our O-line coach was like, 'Hey, you're playing fullback this week'. It was a shock to me, but it was pretty cool," McFadden said Friday. "Every week just being ready to go whenever my number is called."
McFadden indeed lined up at fullback for three plays against Chicago, seeing the field for a trio of run plays that gained five total yards.
The 2023 fifth-round pick helped clear the way for Joshua Kelley to pick up gains of 5 and 3 yards on the first two plays, which came on the Bolts opening possession.
McFadden's third and final snap came on the first play of the third quarter, but that run went for a 3-yard loss.
Chargers Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore said Friday that getting McFadden involved added a fun wrinkle to the offense.
"I thought he did a really nice job," Moore said. "He came downhill, was physical, it was awesome to see."
More later added: "He's an offensive lineman but he's got some athleticism. Obviously, that showed up during the draft process. Felt like it was a good opportunity to find a role for him, hop in there and give us early runs that could be dirty, big-bodied. Get him in there and get him on a linebacker. Felt like it could give us something positive."
McFadden said Friday that it had been a while since he played the position.
"I did it in high school my junior year, but that's the only experience I've ever had with that," McFadden said. "To be able to do that in the NFL was pretty cool."
McFadden went on to star at Clemson, where he was a three-year starter who earned First-Team All-ACC honors in 2022. He played 2,960 career snaps from scrimmage in his college career, good for the third-most of any offensive tackle in program history and seventh-most across all positions.
Going forward with the Bolts, McFadden said he's happy to help at any position on the field.
"It's definitely fun, obviously getting to play the game I love," McFadden said. "Super excited and just excited to be included in the game plan. To have the opportunity to go play is always fun for me.
"I still kind of carry the same mindset of if I was pulling or something like that, a screen, just breaking down my feet and squaring up the smaller guys that are obviously more athletic," McFadden added. "I still use my offensive lineman instincts so to say to help me in those positions."
Bolts secondary ready for Wilson
The gauntlet of the Chargers facing premium wide receivers continues in primetime — and this time it's someone the Bolts have yet to face.
Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson, the 2022 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, had a successful NFL debut season, finishing with 1,103 yards (led all rookies) and four touchdowns (tied for first among rookies).
While he does not have the eye-popping numbers on paper so far this season, Wilson comes in with some momentum, hauling in 190 yards in the last two games. Among them was his first 100-yard game of his sophomore season in Week 7 against the Giants.
Keeping Wilson contained will be key on Monday night, as the second-year receiver has quickly jumped onto the scene as one of the better young receivers in the NFL.
"He's a good receiver, he's proven himself so far," Taylor said. "He's quick, shifty, deceptive and he's dangerous with the ball in his hands.
"All we've got to do is get hands on early with him," Taylor added. "Just like every other week, just have got to cover him until the whistle blows."
The second-year receiver is dangerous in a lot of different ways once he gets the ball in his hands, including gaining extra yards after the catch.
Wilson forced 22 missed tackles after a reception in his rookie year according to Pro Football Focus, good for second-most in the league in 2022, as his suddenness and quickness allow him to turn something into an even bigger gain.
It's the same approach for the Bolts defense as it has been against some of the other league's best that have the same ability — get them on the ground before they're able to make a big play.
"When we always play these elusive receivers, it's always something that we've got to hone in on," Taylor said. "Keeping our eyes low and tackle, using the leverage that we have.
Taylor added: "It's a big emphasis, we've seen him make a couple guys miss."
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