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Ian Rapoport and NFL Media React to the Bolts Season

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While Super Bowl LVI Radio Row was filled with former NFL players and current NFL talent, the LA Convention Center was also filled with on-air talent that were hosting live shows and podcasts at the event.

NFL Network national insider Ian Rapoport was in attendance along with NFL Network host Colleen Wolfe and CBS Sports sideline reporter Evan Washburn.

Take a look at what the three had to say about the 2021 Chargers.

Rapoport first talked about what he saw from Brandon Staley in his first season with the Bolts. He also discussed what Justin Herbert brings to the table, especially on fourth down.

"I am intrigued by Brandon Staley and everyone is a little different and you sort of learn about young coaches and they find their way and all of that. I happen to like him a lot, so it's been really interesting to see. He does not care, he believes what he believes in, he knows sometimes he is going to get criticized. He is here for it, he doesn't hate it, doesn't get upset by it, he wears it and I think it's really cool.

"You know as someone who's watching and sort of evaluating, I don't agree with all of it either, but I appreciate that he embraces the way he plays and the guys are all in. The thinking behind it, you know going for it on fourth down as much as they did, I get it. I've got Justin Herbert and you don't. So, because of that I get to do things that you don't get to do."

Rapoport talked about Herbert's growth from year one to year two in the NFL. He even recalled sending a video to Chargers general manager Tom Telesco during the season so that they could both admire one of Hebert's many deep passes from this season.

"I mean I was impressed by the first season. I'm sure I'll be impressed by the third season he is awesome. There's a lot to like and I think there were some moments especially in the last game [of the season] where I'm like, 'this guy is unstoppable.' Fourth down after fourth down and you knew he was going to complete it. The unbelievable arm strength and accuracy down field is just bonkers to me. There's some throws I'll just send to friends of mine where I'm just like, 'look at this throw.'"

Rapoport talked about the state of the AFC West and the elite young quarterbacks that play in the AFC. He talked about how he feels the new generation of quarterbacks is something he's been waiting for.

"This is the young stud quarterback conference and what it has done is it has made the games must see TV…I love watching these guys and for so long it seemed that there was not quite a next [generation of quarterbacks]. You know it was like Brady was still there and Brees was still there and Peyton was still in…I kept waiting for the next and then they all showed up and that has been extra cool."

Up next is NFL Network host Colleen Wolfe, who hosts a variety of shows on the network including the weekend edition of "Good Morning Football" and "NFL GameDay Kickoff" that airs before Thursday Night Football.

Wolfe talked about her experience at SoFi stadium and how the Chargers' home field is able to perfectly capture the Southern California lifestyle.

"It's beautiful, what a stadium. I was blown away by the first time I watched a game there. There's not a bad seat in the entire house, all of the sidelines are beautiful. Just the whole space in general, the lighting, the palm trees, the lake, it's so vibrant and so perfectly illustrates and encompasses what LA is."

Wolfe then shared her thoughts about Herbert's second NFL season and the bright future the Bolts have.

"Justin Herbert is such a great young quarterback and I think that Chargers are so lucky right now because they have Justin Herbert on this rookie deal so they can build around him right now. They still have that flexibility which is what they should continue to do. He's always going to have that comparison to the other guys that were drafted in his class like Joe Burrow, so I think they will forever be linked. I love what the Chargers were able to do this year, what a dramatic finish to the season, the most dramatic game before the playoffs…I found myself rooting for a tie for both teams to get in. I think everyone was besides Steelers fans."

From Keenan Allen to Austin Ekeler, Wolfe talked about how exciting and entertaining the Bolts roster is to watch on gamedays and why she always makes sure to at least have one Chargers player on her fantasy football team. Wolfe explained what Ekeler brings to the table and what she thinks the Bolts need to focus on heading into 2022.

"Austin Ekeler is such a fun player to watch and he really is such a great cornerstone to that team. They are able to do so many more things in that offense with Ekeler in it. I think the biggest thing that really needs to be focused on in terms of the offseason in terms of the offseason is that run defense. They need to improve there, but this is such a talented roster and they are so young and so much fun."

Finally, CBS Sports sideline reporter Evan Washburn gave his thoughts on the Bolts season as he had a front row seat to some Chargers games in 2021. Washburn talked about the defensive side of the ball for the Bolts and what makes Chargers safety Derwin James such a great leader.

"For me he's the best player at his position, one of the most entertaining players in the NFL. You can't help but want to follow him when you see the things he does on the field and I think he's every bit of a vocal leader too. I think that's important to have on the defensive side of the ball, because as much as offense drives the league you have to be a defense and a team that instill fear on that side and Derwin does that pretty much every time he takes the field."

Washburn also talked about how important it was for the Chargers to have a rookie like left tackle Rashawn Slater on the roster and how rare it is to find a Pro Bowl level tackle in today's game.

"It's critical and it's probably under-discussed how challenging it is to find offensive lineman right now. Not just because there's not that many people walking around this earth that are that big and can move like that, but also the way the college game is structured…so to have a guy in year one just plug-and-play Pro Bowler and somebody you can build around that's an absolute luxury for the organization."

Washburn also discussed Herbert's second NFL season after winning Offensive Rookie of the Year.

"I think he's exceeded them, I mean I think physically you saw the gifts early on that rookie year and my impression this year whether it be from afar or covering games up close, just command of everything that comes with being a franchise quarterback. I do think there's growing pains that come with a new offense and getting with Joe Lombardi and finding what really works and what doesn't. You really saw that as the season progressed …..I think you couldn't ask for more out of Herbert in year two."

Washburn also talked about the leadership that Herbert and Staley brought to the Bolts in 2021 and how their leadership styles are a great combo.

"I think when it comes to Justin, it's being authentic. He doesn't appear to be and even with interactions with him he doesn't appear to be a real rah-rah guy. He's not going to just say things to say things but when he speaks you can tell the guys really respond to it. Then conversely, Brandon has just got this intoxicating personality where whether he's breaking down the game or talking about life, guys really react to it positively. It's kind of the best of both worlds in that way and that's what you want from the quarterback and then obviously the head coach."

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