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From The Podium | Lombardi on Michel's 'Value' to RB Room

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Below are three takeaways from podium sessions before Wednesday's practice:

Lombardi on the addition of Sony Michel

The Chargers announced the signing of running back Sony Michel earlier Wednesday. The former first-round pick joins the 53-man roster and a running back room that has Austin Ekeler, Joshua Kelley and Isaiah Spiller.

"A guy that's played and been successful in the league," Chargers Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi said about Michel. "[He's] a good runner, every down back, a guy that's going to add some value to our team so we're excited that it looks like it's working out."

The running back slots behind Ekeler have been a battle throughout training camp and heading into the season. Lombardi talked about the addition of Michel, the 'veteran presence' he brings to the room and why he was brought in.

"A guy that's had a lot of success in the league, carried the ball a lot for New England and last year for the Rams," Lombardi said. "So as we evaluate them, we thought that he would add some value to our running back room."

The addition of Michel now adds more versatility and experience to the running back group, as he has had his fair share of experiences in high-leverage moments.

With Michel just being added today, Lombardi said they had work him in and see how it looks. Still, Lombardi mentioned that his addition was not an indictment on the other backs in the group.

"[Spiller] was a guy that was performing well when he was healthy," Lombardi said. "[Kelley] has just been around a was a little bit more consistent mentally. They're small things, but they're things that matter."

"We felt so highly about Sony that we wanted to make a move," he added.

Pipkins 'ready to take advantage' of opportunity

Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley officially announced Tuesday that Trey Pipkins III would start at right tackle.

After a long battle for the position all throughout training camp and preseason, Pipkins talked about the moment he found out he won the job and how it felt to see his work pay off.

"It was awesome," Pipkins said. "Just really grateful for everyone who helped me along the way, everybody in the organization who believed in me, and it was really cool to see all my hard work pay off.

"It felt good to get the belief of everybody around me. That was a cool experience, to put that work in, come back and have people see it and respect it," he later added.

With the right tackle job up in the air coming into the season, Pipkins talked about his growth in different areas throughout the offseason that allowed him to win the job.

"I think just in the technical side of my game," Pipkins said. "There's just so much more I've learned and so many big things that I've added to my game that have helped me a ton."

"Just in the way that I set in my pass protection, where I place my hands in the run blocking, things like that. Little technique stuff like that that have helped me a lot," he added.

The starting offensive line heading into Week 1 is now set, with Pipkins lining up next to Zion Johnson, Corey Linsley, Matt Feiler and Rashawn Slater. Although his journey has included some ups and downs, Pipkins is ready for the opportunity.

"It all led to here, so I can't complain about where I'm at now," he said. "There are times that I look back and I'm like, 'Oh, I wish that I played a little better here,' obviously, things like that. But it all led me to where I'm at now, and I'm ready to take advantage of it."

Hill talks approach to improving run defense

The Chargers roster was overturned in a big way this offseason, meaning there are plenty of new faces around the building.

Still, Chargers Defensive Coordinator Renaldo Hill believes there are ways to learn from last season in hopes to improve in 2022.

"We are different. There are 40-plus new players, plus you add a Sony Michel today," Hill said. "We're completely different, but there are always learning things that you can pick up from last season, and that's what we try to focus on.

"Probably more scheme than just the individual deal, so we're kind of focused on that. How can we get better for our scheme and our technique and fundamentals?" he added.

A topic of conversation heading into 2022 has been the run defense and how the new additions will help it improve after some struggles last year. Hill believes that he has seen some improvement, pointing out that he saw good things in their joint practices with the Cowboys.

Hill talked about how they've approached improvement in run defense through more team drills and highlighting the details.

"We try to further emphasize, whether that's walk-through, going through run fits and making sure that everybody knows their responsibility as a whole, so it gives our backend seven [players] knowing exactly where they need to fit in the run game as well," Hill said. "We tried to do a little bit more of that this offseason and in training camp to help us along this season."

The players up front take the criticism to heart, and Hill believes that is something that can propel them to improvement in that area of the game.

"Those guys are prideful as a group," said Hill. "Along with the new additions that we got, we have some leaders in that front group and they are taking it upon themselves to make sure that we have a strong run defense this year."

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