If anyone has a pulse on the league, it's Ian Rapoport.
The NFL National Insider recently spent time at Hoag Performance Center and chatted with Chargers.com as the Bolts got ready to kick off training camp.
Here are four questions with Rapoport:
What's your No. 1 storyline for the Chargers entering camp?
"For me, it all starts with the quarterback and nothing is more important than Justin Herbert. Obviously the on-field is taking care of himself. He's emerged as one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL, someone who has put an incredible performance on the field and still feels like there's room to grow, still feels like he can get better.
"He has had some incredible moments and incredible wins and is probably just scratching the surface. New offensive coordinator this year will probably really help. Him, his security, his contract, making sure that the focal point of the future of the Chargers is locked up for a very long time. The quarterback is always the storyline for any team and I think for the Chargers they've got a great one. Justin Herbert getting that massive contract extension that he very richly deserves — and probably doesn't care that much about — is No. 1 for me."
xYou referenced the Chargers new offensive coordinator. How do you think Kellen Moore and Herbert will pair together?
"I think it's going to help a lot. think in Dallas it was interesting situation, a fresh start probably made a lot of sense. But this is one of the brightest young coordinators in the NFL and it seemed like when it became clear he might be available, this is where he wanted to go. Sometimes people hear a guy is free and teams will be kind of jockeying, that wasn't the case here. It seemed like he was like this is where I want to be and obviously the Chargers were more than open to it.
"This makes a lot of sense. I think Kellen Moore did an incredible job in Dallas, one of the best offenses in the NFL. Whatever is left to get out of Justin Herbert, even though he's so good already, I think Kellen's going to do a great job. A lot of production, a lot of weapons, I think Kellen is going to get the most out of basically all facets to the offense."
xLet's go to the defense. How that that unit take a step forward in 2023?
"I would say health will be a big part of that. Coordinator change [to Derrick Ansley] is probably something that is going to help as well. I think getting someone to really assist Brandon and help execute his vision is important and has been important. I feel like health will be important, just getting them out on the field because if the D-line can hold up, and obviously they're going to get plenty of pressure. If the D-Line can hold, the middle of the defense can hold up, I think they should take a step forward. Offense is going to score, so it's not like they need to do so, so much. I think they'll be fine."
Last one, how can the Bolts take that next step and get past the Chiefs and other top AFC teams?
"Obviously, that's something everybody in the NFL is trying to do. The Chiefs are so good, they've been so good for so long. To me, the Chargers have been in position. It's a really tough division, might be the toughest division in football. I think it may be. They've kind of done all the right things, obviously locking up Herbert, getting him settled, making sure he's going to be a long term.
"This year he would've been fine but that's the kind of thing that solidifying that sets you up in the long term, helps you get in position where you can pay the right people. But this is a good team, really solid, solid all around. The Chiefs aren't vulnerable anywhere but should be able to attack I think in all the right places.
"I say just kind of keep doing what they're doing. It's hard, if they are able to beat the Chiefs they will have earned it because it's very, very, very challenging. But yeah, I think they've done all the right things, coaching staff should be really good this year, probably a little better than it was last year. I think they're in position, it's just a matter of going out and doing it."
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