It’s safe to say 2017 has been Denzel Perryman’s biggest year for change since he came into the league. In a span of mere months, his team has a new city, head coach and defensive coordinator. He also faces a brand new scheme on defense.
But through all the changes, Perryman remains positive. He’s more excited than ever to make his mark on the Bolts’ defense.
“I love the defense,” he said. “It’s a lot simpler for us. Not saying last year wasn’t simple, but this year is a lot more simple. It’s a new defense and everybody is learning it. It’s not one of those things where you come in and think this guy’s been in the system for this long and that guy’s been in the system for that long. We’re all just learning together. When one person makes a mistake, we correct it and roll from there.”
Along with scheme, Perryman is also a big fan of what new Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley brings to the unit as a teacher and mentor. Many Bolts have noted how Bradley is one of the best storytellers he’s ever been around, and that’s true for the linebacker as well. Those stories, as abstruse as they may be, carry meanings that transfer to the game.
“Coach Bradley’s been phenomenal. All his stories have a motivating meaning to them. Honestly, I go in every day looking for a story. He’ll put up a picture of a random person and we’ll think it’s just some random person, but there’s a meaning. Everything relates to football.”
In addition, the linebacker said having a coach like Bradley get on the players’ level is truly motivating. Bradley’s energy is infectious and translates from the meeting room to the field, and everywhere in between.
“You want to be motivated. You want a coach who motivates you. Every day, he’s motivating. You’ll be walking down the hallway and he’ll just yell your name. You’ll turn around like, ‘What the hell?!’ But his energy; everything, it gets you going.”
While he’s excited for the on-field changes, off of it, Perryman is taking more of a leadership role in the linebacker corps. Being one of the more seasoned linebackers in the unit, he’s not afraid to speak up when guidance is needed.
“I can say I feel like I have a leadership role. Sometimes I’ll break the defense down and say a couple things. Even though I am a young guy, I feel like I kind of established that role a little bit. But, I feel like I’m still earning my stripes. I’m going to keep building the chemistry with the guys.”
Building chemistry also means making the newest members of the Chargers feel welcome. After all, it was the example that was set when he entered the league.
“When (the rookies) first got in here, I introduced myself to them and said if they had any questions to not be afraid to ask. That’s what Manti (Te’o) did for me and Corey Liuget did the same. We’re all trying to be better. That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m going to share my knowledge with somebody to help them get better.”