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Evaluating the Safeties with DB Coach Ron Milus

Over the coming weeks, we'll be checking in with the Chargers' position coaches and coordinators to get the inside scoop. We continue with DB Coach Ron Milus.

Chargers.com:How would you characterize the job of the secondary as a whole during the offseason?

Milus: It's been a learning process for all of us, but they've done a good job.  We're embarking on a new style of defense here with Gus Bradley, and our guys are excited about it.  I'm excited about it!  We're going to really emphasize turning the ball over, and we did a really good job of that last year, but it's just a different feel and excitement about what is going to happen here in the future.

Chargers.com:For the secondary, what's been the biggest difference playing under Gus Bradley?

Milus: The biggest difference is we may not play as much quarters coverage as in the past.  We'll do a bunch of deep coverages the same way, but at the end of the day, we'll be a single-high safety football team.

Chargers.com:That transitions nicely into what I want to focus on today, which are your safeties.  We started the offseason off by locking up Jahleel Addae.  Why was it important to bring him back, and how does this new scheme fit his skillset?

Milus: Jahleel can fit into either the strong or free safety position for us.  He has a knack for knowing where the ball is in the run game, and I think that's the biggest thing he brings to the table as far as this scheme is concerned.  I think you'll see him in the box quite often, so he should be able to have a year in which he makes over 100 tackles based upon where he is on the field.

Chargers.com:We also have Dwight Lowery back for his second season.  He played for Bradley a couple years ago in Jacksonville.   What have you seen out of the free safety this offseason?

Milus: Although Dwight's been in the league for a few years, it feels like Dwight's got a new lease on life this offseason.  I see a guy who is playing faster and looks quicker.  Obviously we brought Tre Boston in, so he is being challenged for that starting spot, but I see Dwight as an improved football player even though he's been established in the league for a while.

Chargers.com:You mentioned Boston.  How big was it to bring in someone who has starting experience, and played in a Super Bowl, in May?

Milus: I think getting a guy like Tre in here was one of the better things we did this offseason.  He has experience as a backup as well as a starter.  He is someone who has played in some big games.  One thing I really like about him is he brings a lot of enthusiasm to the room.  He's also a guy who has some athletic ability with good range.  I think he's fit in very well.  It feels like he's been here for years when you see him around our football team.  I'm excited about what he brings to the table.

Chargers.com:There may not be a harder working player than Adrian Phillips. What kind of role do you see him filling this year?

Milus: Whatever we need AP to do, he's willing to do. That's what he's done for us for the last few years here.  The one thing I know about him is he can play both safety positions, and can do so without a lot of practice.  I think that's a special trait.  He is someone that when you put him in the game, you trust him. That's what he brings to the table.  Plus, he's arguably the hardest working dude in the building like you said.  Just the way he prepares and goes about his business.  He's willing to do anything we ask him to do, and he is a valuable, versatile player for us.  

Chargers.com:We saw Dexter McCoil have some moments last year.  Where does he need to improve in order to see the field in 2017?

Milus: This defense might be best suited for Dex.  He is in the same position as Jahleel as an in the box safety.  It's similar to what Kam Chancellor has done the last number of years in Seattle, and they have similar traits.  Size and speed.  We're looking for big things out of Dex, and for him to make some improvements.  He knows what it takes now after being in the league for a full year.

Chargers.com:Miami is known for their safeties, and we picked up a hard-hitting one in the fourth round.  What have you seen out of Rayshawn Jenkins the last couple months?

Milus: That pick was a gem.  I really like what he brings to the table.  He's another guy who plays with enthusiasm.  He has a lot of confidence.  On the field, he plays so smooth and cerebral.  I'm really excited about his future. Once he understands everything we're doing on our defense, I think the sky's the limit for him.

Chargers.com:Adrian McDonald had an impressive preseason last year, and stuck around all year on the practice squad.  This is a deep safety group we have on this team.  What does he need to show in order to make the 53-man roster this year?

Milus: We are going to have some tough decisions to make.  We really like Adrian a lot.  He can do a lot of things for us, and he is very similar to AP in how he goes about his business.  He's got good ball skills.  You look at his history of interceptions in college.  He goes out and handles his business.  We have a good group of guys, so I expect big things out of this group.

Chargers.com: We haven't even talked about Darrell Stuckey yet, who is the longest tenured player at the position. When you look at everyone on the roster, how hard is it going to be to whittle it down come the end of the preseason?

Milus: Oh, it's going to be interesting.  Like you said, there is some stiff competition at the position.  Those four-five-six guys we take or how many it is, they are going to have to have earned it.  I'm excited about the group we have.  We'll see how it (shakes) out."

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