2021 is in the rearview and 2022's offseason is here.
With that being said, we thought this would be a good time to check in with some people we don't hear from often: the Chargers position coaches.
Over the next few weeks, we'll break down positions and players from some of those who know them best.
We start with quarterbacks coach Shane Day, where I asked him just a few questions about Justin Herbert. After all, Herbert only casually built on his record-setting rookie year with a stellar sophomore season.
Jokes aside, Day gives a deep dive into working with Herbert, detailing each week's preparation and shares what we might not know about the QB.
He also discusses what Chase Daniel brought to the QB room and what it was like working with Easton Stick.
In his season-ending press conference, general manager Tom Telesco gave props to the coaching staff with Justin Herbert's development calling it a "big lift" in a new system.
Take me back to OTAs or when the ideation of taking his game to a new level in his second season started?
Shane Day: When Brandon Staley assembled the staff, Joe [Lombardi] was hired, I was hired, [run game coordinator/offensive line coach] Frank Smith was hired and a lot of the other offensive coaches, we all got together. But Justin spent a lot of time in the offseason working out, doing all that stuff. We started talking about what we wanted to do this season right off the bat. After I had a chance to come in and watch all his film, we started to put a plan together about how we wanted to approach the season. We started a lot with his individual fundamentals and how he plays quarterback. But as Tom mentioned, we then had to teach him the offense. I was learning him, too. When we went to OTAs, that was a big part of learning the scheme. We did all walkthroughs against the defense where he's having to read the coverages and learn all these new plays, but he wasn't physically doing a lot of it. A lot of that was done on his own. We talked though a lot of his goals through the offseason, and he continued to grow through the entire season.
Justin's talked a lot this season about the importance of preparation. What is that collaboration like, whether it's with you, adding Joe Lombardi, or other offensive coaches and how key is it?
Day: It really all starts with the quarterback room, with Chase [Daniel] and Easton [Stick] and Justin.
MONDAY: When players come in on Monday, we'll review the game film and make any corrections and stuff we want to work on during the week. The coaching staff goes upstairs and starts game planning for the opponent. While that's going on, what Justin, Chase, and Easton do is they get in the quarterback room and they start watching games and breaking down the opponent to understand what kind of fronts, coverages, and blitzes they run.
WEDNESDAY: Then, once we have a gameplan in place – meaning the offensive plays we want to run against that defense – on Wednesday, we collaborate. That's when Joe comes in and he'll put in the game plan on the offensive unit and talk about what's important to the whole group. Then, we'll go into the quarterback room; Joe and I and [offensive quality control coach] Chandler Whitmer, too, and we'll put in the game plan specifically. We'll talk about how we're gonna attack defenses specifically, how the plays will play out, and the reads and progressions we'll go through, and what they'll have to do in the run game.
We put that work in the classroom and then we'll go out [to the field] and walk through it all. In between that time, Justin's learning all the new plays, then we'll go out and walk through them and he's communicating those plays to all the offensive players. And then, he'll go back in to go over what he has to do in practice and make sure he has that stuff down. And then he'll go out and practice, and after practice, we'll work on all of his individual fundamentals and techniques preparation-wise for that game. And then we'll go back in and watch the film after practice and make all the corrections for that day. Then he starts that night and goes through the next phase.
THURSDAY: The next phase is third downs. So the quarterbacks will all grab dinner and sit in there and watch third downs. And then we'll do the same thing, we'll go in, the coaching staff is upstairs game planning third downs, and we'll put them in.
FRIDAY: At the end of the week, after he's done all the practices, Justin will sit in there Friday afternoon and he'll go back and re-watch the whole week of practice and film we've watched of the defense and try to tie it all together before the game so he can go out there and play fast and decisive.