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From the Podium: What RB Austin Ekeler Thinks About the Chargers' New Offense


1) Head coach Brandon Staley on his message to the team to close minicamp:

"I was just really thankful. I'm thankful for the guys. I really appreciated their performance in this offseason program. I really thought that we showed that we're a team. Any time that you're joining up with new people, that's a process to earn their trust. You can respect somebody before you trust them. What really goes into our program is relationships and competition. In a relationship, it's a lot easier to respect someone from afar. I didn't know [WR] Keenan Allen, but, man, I respected his game from afar. It's a far different thing to trust one another. That took some time. We certainly proved that this offseason, as you guys are aware. With all of the challenges off of the field, us coming together, designing an offseason program that we really feel works for us, doing that together, I feel like we got off to a good start. Then, we were able to finish this the right way at minicamp. That's what I told them.

"I was really impressed with our operation. Today, I think, was the culmination of a team effort. It's sports performance, coaching, personnel, equipment, video, all of those people coming together to have a great weekend and get ourselves right and going into the summertime feeling like, 'Hey, we're headed towards something.' I'm very appreciative of those guys and really excited to get back to work with them in July."

2) Quarterback Justin Herbert on what excites him about the Chargers' new offense:

"There are a lot of plays that are put on the quarterback going up there and making a call based on the defense. That's something that we're going to keep developing and keep getting better at — especially being able to go against the defense these past couple of weeks, you get a better look at it. I think it's just an offense that really takes advantage of the skill players and getting the ball to [WR] Keenan Allen, [WR] Mike Williams and [RB] Austin Ekeler. That's really important for us."

3) Running back Austin Ekeler on the offense:

"It's definitely getting us, as playmakers, in spots to make plays — I love that. I can [an] emphasis in trying to get me the ball, which I'm always on board for, getting me in a spot where I can make more plays, and obviously putting our other players in spots to do the same. It's been, obviously, a learning curve just from being in a similar offense for the past four years and now trying to learn a new offense. That's what the offseason is for."

4) Defensive end Joey Bosa on the new defense:

"I'm not going to get too detailed, but it's about putting the best players in a good position and trying to get one-on-ones. It's about trying to exploit the offense. There's just a lot of different looks and misdirection and all of those sorts of things. I'm not really going to talk about it much, but at its core, it's just getting the best players in the best positions. When you can show a bunch of things, mix things up and kind of keep the offense on their toes, there's a great chance for that."

5) Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. on his knowledge of the defense:

"A lot of it I've been running for my whole career. Coming here last year, it was a whole scheme adjustment for me because I played in a system that I've never played in. This year, I feel very comfortable. I'm able to be that extra quarterback back there for these guys. They're still learning the system, so it's good to have me back there to be able to speed up their thinking and be able to help them out in this system, for sure."

6) Linebacker Drue Tranquill on defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill:

"He's a guy that has a lot of experience. I love his patience with players. He has a very teacher-esque approach to him. Very patient with guys in the meeting room. He's able to detail things and explain it in a way that we can digest it and take it as players."

7) Tight end Jared Cook on Herbert:

"Smart quarterback. He's doing a good job of getting the offense down. I've seen some quarterbacks his age in this offense that just don't get it, and they never get it. I think he's doing a good job of coming in the huddle, calling the plays and getting us to the line of scrimmage. What I see from him is that the corrections that he's making aren't big ones, but the little ones that he makes, he picks up on them fast. He changes it. It's not a repetitive correction thing, which is what you see out of a lot of young guys, no matter what position, in the league. There are those mistakes that you have to get rid of and I don't see any of that from him. He's been on it, man."

8) Center Corey Linsley on his offensive line teammates:

"Great group of dudes, man. Coming in for a couple of days of OTAs earlier. A great room. [Run Game Coordinator/OL] Coach Frank Smith is a great coach. He's extremely intelligent. He knows the game and has been around a little bit, so he's seen a lot of guys. The room is awesome. I know [T] Bryan [Bulaga]. I knew what I was getting there. He's a great dude. Everybody else, we've been jelling pretty good so far. Hoping to take that into camp and keep this thing rolling."

9) Ekeler on the offensive line:

"To get to know these guys — in my past experience, the offensive line is a pretty funny group. They all stick together and they all have a lot of different personalities. It's always a good time to be on the field with the boys, especially this year, too, with new faces, to meet new people and learn about some other people and what they've been doing."

10) Staley on what Bosa brings to the defense:

"He has dominant edge characteristics. He's 6-foot-5, 265 pounds. He takes care of himself. He's in really good shape right now. That stands out to me. On the edge of your defense, he has play-making, dominant traits at that position, from a physical standpoint. The thing that he does best is rush the passer. You can see why he is such a premium rusher when you're around him in-person with his hands, his quickness, his ability to process quickly on the move, and then, he's just a relentless competitor. He is hard on himself. I think that we're really going to get the best out of him because he's willing to give his best. That's when great things can happen, if you're meeting each other like this. I really feel like he's going to be a play-maker for us. We're certainly still learning him and he's learning us. Hopefully, through training camp, we can really figure out exactly where that sweet spot is for him."

Check out the best photos from the second and final day of Chargers Minicamp at the Hoag Performance Center

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