Throughout training camp, several national reporters and personalities will stop by Jack Hammett Sports Complex to learn more about the 2018 Los Angeles Chargers before the regular season commences.
The latest to visit Costa Mesa was ESPN NFL Insider Dan Graziano, who was a guest on Monday's episode of Chargers Weekly -- the official podcast of the team. Highlights from the conversation are below:
Early observations from camp
"It's a good-looking team. You look around and you see Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen, and you see how exciting that can be. And you watch Melvin Gordon run and you see a team that's got its offensive line basically set, and you see where it's going to come from."
"… I think this is a team that expects to contend for big things this year. So, if you're out here (for) training camp, your focus is 'make sure everybody stays healthy' and the couple days I've been here, fortunately, that's been the case."
On wide receiver Mike Williams building chemistry with Rivers
"He's got all the talent in the world – obviously where he was drafted indicates that, and it's just a matter of being out here and repping it and learning the offense, and again, that timing and trust with the quarterback. It's just something that doesn't happen overnight. You see exceptional cases of guys like an Odell Beckham Jr., who has this supremely successful rookie season. Mike Evans in Tampa Bay had a season like that when he was a rookie, but it's not every guy and it's very natural to need some time, so I would expect that to be the case here."
Assessing the defense
"I think they'll be OK at cornerback. I know it's upsetting about Jason Verrett, but it seemed like they were able to fill that production last year and some of those same guys are back. And of course, the edge rush is the superstar element of the defense. Can those guys contribute in the run game? Can they get more push in the middle? But I think Gus Bradley's an established defensive coordinator and knows what he's doing. He's got pieces to work with. We talk about the pieces on the offensive side of the ball, there's just as many on defense and it's very exciting to look at that roster and see what its potential is."
The Chargers' chances of contending in the AFC
"… I think there's more opportunity if you're a team like the Chargers, who wants to take that jump into that next level and feels capable of it. I think the AFC offers more of that, whereas the NFC looks a little more stacked with high-end teams at this point."
Listen to the entire interview with Graziano (11:45 mark), who gives his thoughts on the reigning AFC West Champion Kansas City Chiefs, and shares league-wide storylines he's keeping an eye on entering the 2018 season.
CORRECTION: The Chargers' next open practice is Thursday, August 2nd. The end of the show said Wednesday, August 1st, which is incorrect.
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