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What Led J.K. Dobbins & Bradley Bozeman to Join the Bolts


Chargers offensive line coach, running back J.K. Dobbins and center Bradley Bozeman took the podium Monday at Hoag Performance Center during Phase Two of the offseason program.

Below are three takeaways from their media availability Monday afternoon:

A familiar offense

The opportunity to join the Chargers was something that fired up both running back J.K. Dobbins and center Bradley Bozeman.

The pair of teammates — who are on the same team for the second time of their careers — took the podium Monday for the first time in the powder blue.

For Dobbins the new start with the Bolts is an exciting one, as he laid out what ultimately led to the decision to come out to the West Coast.

"I think that this is a great [coaching] staff," Dobbins said. "I think that the talent on this team is really good, too. I think that I can come in here and make a big difference.

"We can win a lot of football games," Dobbins added. "That was part of my decision."

Bozeman echoed his sentiments, adding that his familiarity with General Manager Joe Hortiz, Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman and a couple other members of the staff he knows well were also a driving force in joining the team.

"I knew what they were about. I knew what they wanted accomplished," Bozeman said. "I knew they wanted to play high-caliber, winning football here. That's exactly what I want to do.

"I want to win football games. I want to play to the best of my ability," Bozeman added. "I want to put some great things on tape. I'm just excited about the opportunity and excited about the vision of where this thing is going. I'm ready to really get into it."

That familiarity applies to both players, who were teammates in 2020 and 2021 under Baltimore's Roman-led offense.

And they were both just as excited to be able to reconnect with a play caller they know very well and had a lot of success during their time together with the Ravens.

"I'm excited. He does a lot of great things and he's a great person," Dobbins said. "We have a great relationship. It's going to be a fun year, we're going to have a lot of fun, we're going to do a lot of great things. So, I can't wait."

Bozeman added: "He's going to be balanced at the same time, but he isn't afraid to run the ball. It's not successful this time or it's not the next, but three or four times in a row, you know it's going to hit. I think that all leans into how we prepare. If we can instill that confidence in him to still continue to call plays in that way, I think that's the biggest thing."

Dobbins has had a lot of success running the football in this offense, spending the first three years of his career in the system.

The running back has averaged 5.8 yards per carry since 2020, the highest mark by any running back in the NFL (minimum of 200 rushing attempts) in that timespan and knows how prolific the offense can get with the run game going.

And that sounds good for Dobbins, who is amped to be in an offense that is willing to run the ball like that.

"It gives me a lot of excitement. It's fun to play in his offense," Dobbins said. "I think that he does have some good things in the passing game, too. Like you said, he sticks with the run, that's the identity.

"You want an offense that has an identity," Dobbins added. "You don't want to be looking everywhere else to find your identity, you want to have it. I think that his offense has that. The guys that he builds and puts in there, it complements that idea. I think that it's going to be great."

When the offense gets rolling in all phases, Bozeman says you'll be able to tell.

"It looks fun. You can see it. You can see the energy. You can see the excitement," Bozeman said. "You can see the emotion of the game because you're letting big guys be big guys and do what we do best. We're not backing up, we're going forward.

"Like I said, we're still going to pass the ball. We have one of the best quarterbacks in the league [QB Justin Herbert]," Bozeman added. "We're going to pass the ball, for sure, but to have the opportunity to be balanced from that aspect is awesome."

Adding Alt to O-Line room

There was a lot of excitement in the air after the Chargers selected tackle Joe Alt, including from offensive line coach Mike Devlin who got a big addition to his room.

The 6-foot-8, 321-pound tackle was the consensus top offensive lineman in the draft and now joins a room that will be a driving force in the Bolts offense.

Devlin was amped to be able to add a lineman of his caliber to his room, as his athleticism stands out from the jump.

"Obviously, it's exciting to get a player with his athleticism, his size and, really, still young and maturing," Devlin said. "From that perspective, yeah, you love to have guys like that.

"It's a big-man's business, football," Devlin said. "And he's a big man that can move."

The Chargers offensive line coach said that Alt reminded him of none other than his father, John, who he is well familiar with and saw a lot of him during his time as a college football player at his alma mater.

"He reminds me of his dad," Devlin said. "I went to Iowa four years after he graduated. My [position] coach was [Iowa Head Coach Kirk] Ferentz.

"We watched a lot of his film. He was the original, 'O.G.,' if you will of Iowa linemen," Devlin said with a laugh. "He reminds me a lot of [his dad]."

With Rashawn Slater locked in at left tackle, Alt said in his introductory press conference last week that he isn't worried about a likely move to right tackle, as he cross-trained there in months leading up to the draft and played there early in his career at Notre Dame.

Devlin, a former interior lineman, gave some insight about moving to another side of the line and detailed some of the things it takes to really get comfortable with the new position.

"It's really just muscle memory of being able to flip over from one side to the other," Devlin said. "Some guys aren't willing to do that, some are.

"To me, with the great ones it's just a matter of feeling comfortable," Devlin added. "Get over it feeling comfortable. Get enough reps to feel comfortable in whatever they're doing or whatever they're asked to do."

The key to getting it down? Reps.

There's still steps to get through during the offseason, all of which provide continuous chances and key time to practice it.

"It just takes reps. It's just a matter of rep after rep," Devlin said. "This is the time to do it, right? We have Phase Two right now, then it will be OTAs [Organized Team Activities]. We're doing this to get them ready for OTAs. We do OTAs to get them ready for training camp.

"When the live bullets of training camp start and the physicality of it, that's when it usually sinks in for everybody because then you have to put it all together," Devlin said. "Now it's real, the speed of it and everything else."

Reuniting in the backfield

The reunions for Dobbins also include in the running back room, where he's paired up in the backfield with another free agency signing in Gus Edwards.

"We have a great relationship," Dobbins said. "He's like my brother."

Dobbins and Edwards were together for the last four seasons and reconnected back in Southern California after some successful years in the Baltimore backfield.

As driving forces in the running back room behind the league's No. 1 rushing offense during the 2020 season, Dobbins and Edwards combined for 1,528 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns that year. They were also two of the top three rushing leaders on the team among running backs in 2022 as well.

Both offer something different to the run game but playing off of each other has allowed them to be successful.

"I think that [our skillsets] complement each other very well," Dobbins said. "He can do a lot of stuff, too. A lot of people think that he is just power, power, power, but I think that he has some other parts to his game, too, which will be great.

"I feel like I can do everything, and when one gets tired, we can roll it in and keep rolling, win some games," Dobbins added.

And when you mesh both skillsets together, Dobbins believes the partnership will look great for the Bolts running game in 2024.

"I think it'll look beautiful," Dobbins said. "A lot of people call this a passing league, but I think that you have to run the ball to win a Super Bowl. If you look at the teams that win a Super Bowl, they can run the ball, they can control the clock.

Dobbins added: "If we're both good, it'll look great, beautiful."

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