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Derwin James Making Most of Chargers' New Offseason Reality


Like everyone in the NFL, the month of April has been all about adaptation for Chargers All-Pro safety Derwin James.

The third-year player has been training at home with weights and bands, while also getting in work at a nearby field. The Chargers' offseason program is being done via Zoom, so communication with coaches and teammates is virtual.

On Wednesday, James used that same technology to discuss the team's new additions, as well as how he's adjusting to an unfamiliar routine.

"I'm finding new ways to train, new ways to do meetings, (and) new ways to do interviews," James said. "So, it's just something different and I feel like we're all getting something out of this."

James said he and his teammates have been active during the virtual sessions, noting that with the proper mindset it's not much different than being in a physical classroom. He also commended the coaching staff for their ability to teach remotely.

Of course, the learning curve for rookies will be much steeper when the Chargers' 2020 class comes together for minicamp next month. Linebacker Kenneth Murray – drafted No. 23 overall last Thursday – is a player James referred to as "a dog" who will "make an immediate impact."

It won't come without initial challenges, though.

James acknowledged that he had advantages his rookie season that Murray won't – from regimented strength and conditioning work to on-field reps with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.

"It's gonna be different, especially learning the playbook – Gus' scheme," James said. "… But I feel like he's a very intelligent kid just from doing my research on him. He's very smart and he's a leader, so I feel like it's gonna be very easy for him to translate to the NFL."

On the other end of the spectrum is newly signed All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris Jr., who's entering his 10th NFL season. James said as a younger player on this team, he looks forward to soaking up knowledge from the 2015 Super Bowl champion.

"I know Chris," James said. "I knew of Chris before we traded for him. I always thought that he was a great player and I feel like he still has a lot in the tank – and I feel like just adding him will allow the defense to be very multiple."

In addition to James and Harris Jr., the secondary includes cornerback Casey Hayward Jr. and defensive back Desmond King. All four players have either made an All-Pro team or been a Pro Bowl selection.

When asked if he agrees with outside talk that the Chargers boast the league's best secondary, James quickly said no, adding that at this moment "it's all on paper."

"Right now it looks good, but we got to go out there and perform," he said.

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