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5 Takeaways: Chargers, Staley Focused on 'Brand New' Start in 2023


The Bolts are back in the building.

Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley met with reporters Monday as the team began its voluntary offseason program in Costa Mesa.

Here are five takeaways from Staley's press conference:

1. Day 1 of the offseason program

Brandon Staley must have checked his calendar before stepping to the podium Monday.

"It's been 93 days since our last ball game, so we're ready to get started," the Chargers Head Coach said from Hoag Performance Center on the first day of the team's voluntary offseason program. "It's good to see everybody here.

"There's a different energy when players get back. We're excited to start doing football," Staley added.

And even though the 2023 regular season is still roughly five months away, Staley noted the importance of getting players back in the building to begin construction on this year's version of the Chargers.

"I think you start brand new each and every season. I don't think that you ever take anything for granted. I think you truly have to build a team each and every year," Staley said. "I think where that starting point is can be a little bit different, depending on how many people you bring back, but there's just so much transition in the NFL – whether it's with players or coaches or staff – you have to reset your team every single year and build it."

Staley, who is entering his third season as head coach, also noted how much he enjoys this time of the calendar year.

"I think you have a lot better understanding of the calendar, of the rhythm, that you're trying to create, the teaching progression of everything and truly how to build a football team, and how long of a season it really is, starting from the spring season all the way to your final game," Staley said. "You have a much better understanding of how to do that, the more you do this.

"As a coach, this is a really special time, that teaching time of the springtime, and being able to build your football team," Staley added. "Certainly, the draft is coming up next week and you get a bunch of new guys there too, but this is a really great time for coaches."

2. A strong showing

A friendly reminder that this part of the offseason program is voluntary.

In fact, all of it is voluntary except for a mandatory minicamp that will take place over two days in June.

Still, Staley said he was proud of the strong contingent of players who showed up to get some work in Monday morning.

"I'm just proud of our players, proud of the culture that we have on our football team and the leadership of our football team," Staley said. "Today's Day 1 of it, but we have a team that I'm really excited to coach."

And he also understands the voluntary part of the process, too.

"It's certainly optional, that's the way that the collective bargaining agreement is right now," Staley said. "We're really appreciative of the guys who are here.

"Your players set the culture of your team and we want to create competition in the springtime to improve as a football team," Staley added. "We're excited about the guys who are here and we're looking forward to the next couple of months."

3. Balancing draft prep

As Staley mentioned above, the 2023 NFL Draft looms next week.

That means Staley, his coaching staff and the entire Chargers front office is in a bit of a juggling act right now.

Staley on Monday commented on his love for the draft and how important it is for him to be invested in it even with members of the current roster in the facility.

"Pour yourself into the draft, pour yourself into the players," Staley said. "There's no bigger investment that you make as a club than who you bring into your football team. You have to have as much knowledge of that player as possible and you have to have as many viewpoints as possible.

"I love the draft since I was a little kid. I grew up watching the draft, the Staley Family was watching every pick in the draft from as long as I can remember," Staley added. "Now, you get a chance to be a part of that selection process. You want to dive into to that process full steam."

Staley said that with 10 days to go until the first round, his excitement for the annual event is building because of the work the front office has put in.

"We take a lot of pride in the level of detail that we have in this process," Staley said. "Joining up with our scouting department, which was fantastic, led by you [General Manager] Tom [Telesco], [Director of Player Personnel] JoJo [Wooden], [Director of College Scouting] Kevin Kelly, the scouts, just that teamwork, that aspect of bringing people together and studying these guys, getting to meet these players.

"It's a tremendous process. Next week is going to be exciting for the Chargers," Staley added.

4. An update on Herbert

The biggest news in the NFL on Monday center around Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who signed a multi-year contract extension with Philadelphia.

Hurts, a 2020 second-round pick, became the first quarterback from that draft class — which also includes Justin Herbert — to ink a new deal.

Staley was asked about Hurts' deal, whether or not that affects Herbert's possible new contract and if there was any update on the latter between Herbert and the Bolts.

"No update," Staley said. "We're going to keep those negotiations private. Looking forward to just getting started with Phase One."

Herbert was present Monday on the first day of workouts but was limited in activity after undergoing surgery to his non-throwing shoulder this offseason.

Staley said that Herbert's involvement will be determined at a later date.

"Yeah, up in the air," Staley said. "We're going to listen to the doctors. I know that he's making progress. We'll have those updates as we get closer to practice time."

5. Jackson, Ogbonnia making progress

Herbert wasn't the only player present but not going through workouts Monday.

Wide receiver Jalen Guyton, whom the team signed Monday morning, was also rehabbing off to the side. He suffered a torn ACL in Week 3 of the 2022 season.

A pair of defensive players — cornerback J.C. Jackson and defensive lineman Otito Ogbonnia — also worked off to the side Monday.

Jackson suffered a torn patella tendon in Week 7. Staley said Monday that Jackson's timeline is still up in the air given the serious nature of his injury.

"Same as before. He's working really hard. It's been great that he's been doing his rehab here," Staley said. "Just excited to see his progress here, now that we're all back together, and try to take advantage of these next two months before we hit break."

As for Ogbonnia, the 2022 fifth-round rookie showed lots of promise before a knee injury against the 49ers ended his season in Week 9.

Staley said he was "definitely" encouraged by Ogbonnia's progress of late.

"He's working hard," Staley said.

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