Here are five top lessons learned from this week's minicamp, which marked the culmination of the Chargers' offseason program:
1. Watch Out for the Wideouts – Which team boasts the top wide receiving corps in the NFL? If you ask anyone at Hoag Performance Center, it's a question that doesn't need to be asked. From the elite production of Pro Bowler Keenan Allen to the speed of Travis Benjamin to the playmaking ability of Tyrell Williams to the addition of a now healthy Mike Williams, it's hard to argue there is a better top-four in the NFL. Thus, you can understand why Benjamin didn't shy away when asked point blank about the team's talent at wide receiver:
"We're stacked, man. Hopefully we've got enough balls around to catch. Each and every opportunity you get to catch the ball, just do your best with it…Keenan is the all-around receiver, me, I'm the fastest, I can be the team player sometime and be the decoy. When it's time for me to get the ball, I take advantage of it. Mike, the big ball guy. Tyrell, he's just like Keenan, he can do everything as a receiver."
2. Feeva Running Wild– It's been a long two years, but Jason Verrett finally feels like his old self. After a breakout sophomore campaign that culminated in a Pro Bowl appearance, the cornerback underwent season-ending ACL surgery just four weeks into the 2016 campaign. Verrett never felt right, so he shut it down after one game last year in order to go under the knife once again. It's been a long wait, but Verrett is back out there once again, flying around with no ill effects:
_"I felt like something was wrong just because I know my body. I know how I'm supposed to feel, and I wasn't feeling how I was. So I (thought) the surgery was needed…. Man, last year was tough. I was in a brace the whole time. (The brace) was like a little bit mentally and physically. But now being out of the brace, not even thinking, being able to cut and get out of my breaks, I'm able to cut and get back to where I was before."
It's also worth pointing out that Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley has been impressed by number 22:
"His skill set, what he has, his speed, his athleticism, his change of direction -- it is elite. Just to see him go through the individuals sometimes, you see a guy come back from an injury like that, it takes some time. I don't see it right now. The way he's working out (and) the way he's practicing, he's in a really good place right now."
3. Dead Heat Behind Rivers – Those coming out to training camp this summer will get a first-hand look at an intense quarterback competition to back up Philip Rivers. Cardale Jones and Geno Smith have split the reps throughout the offseason, but according to Head Coach Anthony Lynn, preseason play is when the two will really get a chance to separate themselves:
"I feel good about the quarterback competition. I like the guys that we brought in. I feel good about looking forward to seeing it play itself out…It's really hard right now because you're not playing real football. Some guys look better in shorts, but when you put the pads on, the lights come on, you see a different fella."
Take a look through the best photos from the final day of Chargers minicamp.
4. Prime Mel – If you think Melvin Ingram was a terror off the edge in 2017, the Pro Bowler wants you to know the best is yet to come. Entering his seventh season, number 54 believes he's entering the prime of his career. The sight of a prime Mel is something that will surely strike primal fear in the hearts of opposing linemen…and if Ingram has his way, it'll stay like that for at least another decade:
"I'm in my prime right now. I'm growing. I'm getting taller. I'm going to play a long time, probably like 15 more years. I'm in my prime. At least 10 more…._I'm always confident. Nothing's changed. So it's just going out and trying to make plays, really. I'm grinding every day, trying to get better as a person, to get better as a defense and a team. That's what it's all about."
5. They Like Ike – Several Chargers turned heads over the course of the offseason program, perhaps none more so than Isaac Rochell. The team spent the final day of minicamp singing the defensive end's praises, raving about how much he's improved heading into his second season. From his improved hand technique to a brand-new physique thanks to a change in lifestyle, the 23-year-old stood out from the day he reported in April. Rochell spends countless hours among Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, and the pair of Pro Bowlers joined Lynn in their effusive praise of the Golden Domer. To his credit, Rochell isn't letting the attention go to his head:
"It's cool to hear that, but I've said this before. That's all fluff. That's all word candy. For me, I've got to go out, grind and start over. For me, it's literally going out there every day trying to get a little bit better."
Five Tips for Crossing the Finish Line Without a Running Injury
Since the mid '90s, competitive running has blossomed into one of the most popular activities for millions of Americans. Whether you're running in a 5K, mud run or a half or full marathon, following these tips will keep you healthy and help you reach your goals.Dynamic stretching should be practiced prior to exercise as it prepares the joints for movement and muscles for optimal activation. Static stretching, or holding a stretch for a sustained period of time, should be a post-run activity.
1. Dynamic stretching should be practiced prior to exercise as it prepares the joints for movement and muscles for optimal activation. Static stretching, or holding a stretch for a sustained period of time, should be a post-run activity.
2. Incorporating core strengthening exercises into your training regimen is vital to your success. Bridges, planks and bird dogs are just a few exercises which can increase your stability, balance, posture and control.
3. Invest in a foam roller. Runners can use this tool to increase their mobility, speed up their recovery after a run and decrease muscle tension in sore areas.
4. Listen to your breathing! If you can talk comfortably while running or if you aren't gasping for air, your pace is just right. An alternative is to use a heart-rate monitor and run at 65 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate.
5. Hydrate! Drink eight to 16 ounces one-to-two hours before a run. If that's not possible, drink at least four to eight ounces of fluid, 15 to 30 minutes before your run to avoid dehydration.
For more information on running conditions or safety tips, or to request a complimentary consultation with Select Physical Therapy, please visit selectphysicaltherapy.com today!