We're a little over a week into training camp but already, a number of pundits and analysts have breezed through Jack Hammett Sports Complex getting their first look at the 2018 Los Angeles Chargers.
One of those in attendance was ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates. Chargers Camp is Yates' only training camp he'll attend this summer, but he admitted he was excited to watch some of the team's newest members.
"I think when you arrive at (training) camp before any new season, you're always looking for new faces. It's hard to miss Derwin James," Yates said. "There are a lot of physical, gifted defensive backs on this team but he seems to be cut from a different cloth than most defensive backs around the NFL. If you put on the number 53 instead of 33 and you told me he was a linebacker, I wouldn't have been surprised at all. He's a guy who clearly looks the part."
Flipping to the other side of the ball, another guy Yates is looking forward to see suit up for the Bolts this season is number 53 – Mike Pouncey. Pouncey was a surprise addition for the Chargers being that he wasn't originally expected to be available in free agency this season.
For Yates, adding another veteran presence on the offensive line is only beneficial for the unit and the guy under center.
"Any time you add a center who has been in the league for half a dozen or maybe more years, it's helpful," he said. "It's not just a player who can be a physical point of attack, but also a guy who can be a quarterback on the field. Not that Philip Rivers needs too much help. But, (Pouncey) is a guy who when you have younger depth-level guards, or you have a player like Forrest Lamp, who in effect could be a day one starter as a redshirt rookie, it's helpful to have a guy like (him). He's been around for a long time and understands protection schemes and can help get everybody where they need to be."
As a team, in 2017, the Chargers had their first winning record since 2014 and overcame an 0-4 start to win nine of their final 12 games. They enter the AFC West as essentially the most stable team in the division at QB as well as with the coaching staff. Will this continuity parlay a division title? Yates seems to think so, and also believes they can even take it further in 2018.
"I don't just view them as a top team in the AFC West, but (they) may be one of the best teams in the AFC on paper right now. A lot of games yet to be played…But if you have a quarterback, you have a chance. They've got depth at wide receiver, tremendous running backs, an offensive line that could be even better this year…I expect this offense to be a nightmare to stop. And on defense, if you can disrupt opposing quarterbacks, then you've always got a chance. Blue-chip talent on both sides of the ball."
Take a look through the top photos of Tuesday's practice as the Chargers continue into week two.