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From the Podium: How is Justin Herbert Picking Up the New Offense?


It's been nearly four months since Brandon Staley finalized his first coaching staff as a head coach.

While we've heard from the coordinators already during OTAs, we got a chance to hear from some additional newest members of Staley's staff when the third week of the third phase of the offseason program kicked off on Monday.

Here are three takeaways from passing game coordinator/QBs coach Shane Day, secondary coach Derrick Ansley, and run game coordinator/offensive line coach Frank Smith.

Shane Day on Justin Herbert: "I think it's all right where it's supposed to be. It's been perfect."

Justin Herbert had a rookie campaign for the books, but the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year enters 2021 tasked with learning a new offense.

Day mentioned the goal of this group is to take things Herbert did well in 2020 and add to theat.

Last week, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi discussed how Herbert has been learning the system but on Monday, Day elaborated on Herbert's growth in these last few months.

"The one thing I can say from the last couple months being around him is he really works at football and it's really important to him," Day said. "If you have those two things where you're very intelligent and you work at it, then you're gonna have no problems picking up an offense. I think we're seeing him on the trajectory we want to see him on right now. As we've started off and gone through these last couple weeks of practice, he's really sped up what he knows. So I think it's all right where it's supposed to be. It's been perfect."

Day mentioned a key to Herbert's intellect is his penchant for wanting to know the "why" behind concepts to "get the whole picture."

Six Degrees of Derrick Ansley

Derwin James. Nasir Adderley. Brandon Facyson. Asante Samuel Jr. Brandon Staley.

Ansley had connections to each of those guys prior to taking the job with the Chargers and listening to his presser was like playing a game of connect the dots, tracing lines from player to coach or coach to coach on where their ties began.

While this marks the secondary coach's second stint in the NFL, he discussed how beneficial that familiarity is for him, especially as he heads up a unit on defense.

"It's been an easy transition," Ansley mentioned. "Going back to when Derwin was a recruit coming out of Haines City, Fla. then going to Florida St., I had a chance to recruit him when I was at Alabama. Having Nas at the Senior Bowl, knowing Facyson from high school. Just knowing all these guys, even Asante (Samuel Jr.) recruiting him out of St. Thomas, it just made transition a lot smoother. Not coming in here being the guy who doesn't really know anybody. We kind of all knew of each other and that kind of helped us gel quickly."

Frank Smith's "4 Cs"

"Clear, consistent and concise communication."

That's the philosophy that Smith is bringing to the Chargers' offensive line unit. A former o-lineman himself and three-year starter in college turned coach, Smith prides himself on precaching communication based on his previous background.

"They have to know the human element that you bring as a coach and know that you're going to be the good and the bad, 'I'm with you there all of the way.' As we grow through the system, there are obviously challenging things that we have to work through in year one, but you're just consistent and clear in what your expectations are. Then, they know, and they can carry the banner into practice and into the games.

"I think that's the most important thing, that the alignment between the coaching staff and the players, and then they feel that it's never the finger-pointing of, 'Why didn't you do this?' It's like, 'Why did you see this? Why did you think that we needed to do that?' I think that comes in the communication. I think that's a focal point for all of us, more importantly, when you have to have five working together at a constant play to accomplish what we want to do. I think it's a daily goal, a daily process, that we do on the field and in the classroom, as far as trying to get that expectation accomplished."

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