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3 Key Next Steps for Jim Harbaugh & Joe Hortiz

3 Steps

The Bolts have a pair of fresh faces leading the organization in Chargers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and Chargers General Manager Joe Hortiz.

Harbaugh was introduced at a press conference Thursday while Hortiz is slated to speak with reporters Tuesday.

It's now time for the real work to begin as the pair tackles the Chargers 2024 offseason.

"I really want to be Robin to his Batman in the offseason," Harbaugh said of his connection with Hortiz. "And then when it turns around to the season, I'll be Batman and he'll be Robin. We'll be the 'Caped Crusaders.'"

With that in mind, here are three key next steps for Harbaugh and Hortiz:

1. Hire a coaching staff

This one mostly applies to Harbaugh as he determines his coaching staff.

And the new Chargers Head Coach said Thursday that it's at the top of his to-do list.

"Get the staff hired, that's the biggest priority right now," Harbaugh said at his introductory press conference.

Harbaugh later expanded on how important is it to build a coaching staff that meets the standard shared by Chargers players.

"That's priority No. 1 right now, alongside getting to know the players. Getting this staff, putting this staff together," Harbaugh said. "We want an All-Star staff that's worthy to coach our players. That's what we're working on."

What exactly is Harbaugh looking for in his staff? He dove into detail on what he wants the mindset of his offensive coordinator to be as they work hand-in-hand with quarterback Justin Herbert.

"For an offensive coordinator, what kind of offense do you want? What kind of offense do you envision? What kind of unit do you envision?," Harbaugh said. "Then, next is really tell me about the offensive line, go through that position. That's where it starts.

"Hear that the vision is the same, that the offense is not going to turn the ball over, but is going to be able to drive, put points on the board and be physical, especially up front," Harbaugh continued. "A team that is tough, can block, can tackle, block on offense. We want to be balanced, run game and pass game.

"Have to protect the quarterback. There's a tone there. There's an example set from the coordinator that it's unselfish," Harbaugh added. "The same that we want from the players, we want from our offensive coordinator, not about stats, it's about our team winning."

As for Hortiz, perhaps he makes additions to the Chargers front office in the weeks and months to come. But the biggest focus for the Bolts right now is to get Harbaugh's coaching staff in place.

Get a behind-the-scenes look as Jim Harbaugh is formally introduced as the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers on February 1st, 2024

2. Evaluate the roster

We'll hear from Hortiz on Tuesday as he is likely to share his initial thoughts on the current Chargers roster.

And while the new Chargers General Manager might have to get up to speed a bit since he was just hired last week, he likely has a decent grasp of the Bolts roster.

Consider that the Chargers played the Ravens — where Hortiz recently spent 26 years — this past season, and that the teams also reside in the same conference.

As Hortiz and Harbaugh begin to evaluate the roster, keep in mind that there are five weeks until the NFL's free agency period starts on March 13.

The Bolts are scheduled to have 27 players become possible free agents. That's also the time the Chargers need to be compliant with the 2024 salary cap, as the Bolts are currently projected to be $46 million over the cap, according to Over the Cap.

The Chargers will have some large decisions to make — namely on players such as Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.

Harbaugh was asked Thursday about how he and Hortiz will evaluate the roster.

"Amazing talent, amazing players on this team," Harbaugh said. "Joe just got in [Wednesday] night, so we're going to give him some time.

"But, it's going to be a team effort," Harbaugh added. "After we get the staff hired, then we're going to really start looking at the roster and evaluating that."

3. Prepare for the Combine

Believe it or not, the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine begins in three weeks.

The league will once again converge in Indianapolis as NFL teams get an up-close look at draft prospects.

Harbaugh mentioned the Combine in his Thursday press conference and said it is an event he and Hortiz will begin prepping for soon.

And while the Combine is always of importance to the Bolts, it could hold extra weight this year given the Chargers hold the No. 5 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Harbaugh said Thursday that he believes his time as Michigan's head coach could help the Bolts as they prepare for the draft, which will be held April 25-27 in Detroit.

"I think it is an advantage," Harbaugh said. "There are just so many, all the players this year that played for us at Michigan, but I recruited a lot of the other ones, too, through the years, and watching them.

"I think it's going to be [an advantage]," Harbaugh added. "I don't know how much, I don't have the scientific percentage on that, but I think it does help."

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