Below are three takeaways from podium sessions before Tuesday's practice:
Staley describes goals, approach for Week 0
Tuesday marked a busy day for the Chargers, and the rest of the NFL, as teams faced a 1 p.m. (PT) deadline to finalize their initial 53-man rosters.
With the initial roster set and three preseason games in the books, Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley has now turned his focus to Week 0 in the NFL, or a 'bonus week,' as Staley called it during Tuesday's press conference. Staley gave insight into what he looks to accomplish this week and why his full focus is on the Bolts this week and making their final adjustments ahead of the opening week of the NFL season next week.
"Not much preparation for [the Raiders], more about us, more about getting into our rhythm, our work week rhythm," Staley said. "I think that's a big goal for us, to kind of establish that work rhythm within our football team.
"Get our guys back really focused on the fundamentals of what it's going to take; blocking and tackling and takeaways and all those things that are kind of the essence of football, and then making sure that we're still developing our schemes," Staley added. "I think this is another week where we can continue to experiment, push it a little bit schematically, see if this play could fit or if this defense could fit, this coverage, whatever the case may be. You still have some time here to push it schematically. I thought last week we had three quality practices, and I see it very much the same this week."
Staley explained how the Bolts can use the extra time during Week 0 to get themselves prepared for the long season ahead.
"I think that's helpful, just to get you another week before your first game," Staley said. "Then, that's what you spend your offseason doing, too, making sure that you're prepared.
"Then, there's the other element, too, that you can't get ready for something that you don't know about, like those two teams are going to be different come Week 1," Staley added. "What we were studying last year with them, it's not who they're going to be. There are so many changes that both teams are making."
Staley explained why it's crucial in the NFL to be mindful about the week ahead and not look too far ahead on the schedule.
"You have to take each week as it comes, I think, and that's certainly my approach," Staley said. "Just take each week as it comes and not look too far ahead. To me, in the NFL, the week that's in front of you demands your full attention. That's what we're going to do for this week."
Fehoko 'emotional' after making initial 53-man roster for first time in his career
Just a few minutes after the initial 53-man roster was released, defensive lineman Breiden Fehoko described his emotions of finding out he was on it. He recounted the moment he told his family members.
"Emotional," Fehoko said. "I've been cut twice and it's — [my Dad] was happy. My mom left me a voicemail. She was tearing up a little bit.
"My fiancé cried a little bit, too, this morning," Fehoko said. "I pulled in and my brother called me. I texted him and I said, 'We're going to be good.' And it's funny, he read it and he said, 'Man, you'll be good. Some team will pick you up.' I said, 'No. We're going to be good.' He read it wrong, but he called me and he was crying and he was emotional."
Fehoko is no stranger to adversity since entering the NFL. His journey includes joining the Bolts as an undrafted free agent back in 2020, being cut from the team and getting re-signed to the practice squad the next day. Last season Fehoko was cut for the second time and re-signed to the practice squad again, although he eventually appearied in eight games and made his first start against the Steelers. Fehoko, who battled again to make the initial 53-man roster at this year's training camp, explained why he wouldn't want his journey to be 'any other way' than it has been the past three seasons.
"It's just been one those rides where I've always had to battle from the bottom up," Fehoko said. "I've had to grind for everything I have. I wouldn't want it any other way. I never want things handed to me on a silver platter. I always want people to challenge me. I always want the room to expect more out of me.
"Being the youngest of all boys, I've always learned that I've always had to take a backseat, but I've always had to be ready when my number was called. I felt like that's kind of been evident in my career up to this point. And I still have not done anything to prove my worth as an NFL player yet for the Chargers," Fehoko added. "I feel like that road is a long road ahead, but with the right coaching, with the right personnel, with the right teammates, I'll make my way there someday."
Check out the best photos from the initial 53 roster practice on Tuesday at Hoag Performance Center.
Kelley looking to 'impact the game' in 2022
In the Bolts' preseason finale, running back Joshua Kelley flashed in New Orleans as he led the team in rushing yards and had a highlight play that brought him back to his days as a UCLA Bruin. In the second quarter of Friday's game, Kelley went airborne and hurdled a Saints defensive back for a 15-yard gain to secure a first down.
As he heads into his third NFL season, Kelley described why he's making plays with more confidence and feeling more decisive as both a runner and pass catcher.
"For me, I'm not trying to overcomplicate things," Kelley said. "I'm just going back to my style of play. I know that I am a North-South guy. I'm not trying to be somebody I'm not. That's just my style. I'm just trying to master and perfect it.
"I think in my first two years, I was thinking too much. I think it was just too much thinking, overcomplicating things, trying to make sure that everything was perfect. Now, it's just like play football. That's just what it is," Kelley added. "Honestly, like I'm here for a reason, because I'm good. I'm good at football. I'm not trying to be cocky or arrogant, but that's just what it is. For me, I was like, let me put in the work, let me grind and let me just go out here and play."
Now with training camp in the rear-view mirror and 12 days left until their season opener against the Raiders, Kelley talked about his mindset heading into the 2022 season and what role he looks to have in the running back room.
"For me, I think it's simple. I just want to impact the game. It could be offense, special teams, that's just what I want to do," Kelley said. "It doesn't matter if I'm getting 20 carries, two, I'm going to make the most out of it. On special teams, just go out there and handle my business. I've been playing this game for a long time. This is my third year now, so I'm just trying to impact the game."
While Kelley said he seeing his confidence grow and his hard work in the offseason start to pay off, the third-year running back said he's 'not content' and still sees a lot of room for improvement.
"There's a lot of work that goes behind it. I'm not content at all," he said. "I see myself and I say, 'I can make a lot more improvements.' I'm not where I want to be right now, as a player, but there are some things that I look back on and I'm like, 'OK, that was good, but I'm trying to get better.'"
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