Tuesday marked the Bolts' return to practice after falling to the Seattle Seahawks in the preseason opener. Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt spoke with the media and shared his thoughts on the offensive line, turnovers and why Antonio Gates is still as impressive as ever.
Protect the Football
Heading into training camp, Whiz and the offense placed a premium on protecting the football. Although the first-team did an efficient job, once they exited the field, the Bolts committed four total turnovers throughout the rest of the game. While Whisenhunt said he understands that there is an adjustment for some of the younger and new players during their first time out on the field, it's inexcusable and needs to be fixed. How so? It starts in practice.
"You have to make it an emphasis in practice. You have to talk about it. A couple of them were tipped balls, and one time Kellen was trying to pull it and the ball came out. It was just unfortunate, but it doesn't matter."
Props to the OL
Much has been said about how the Chargers offensive line underwent the biggest change this offseason, and Sunday was the first in-game look at the potential starting five. Overall, Whisenhunt was pleased with what the first-team offensive line looked like and believes they will only get better moving forward.
"When you go down the field and score, you obviously like a lot of the things that you did. We were good in protection, and we did a nice job of being effective in the run game. I think we mixed that up and the credit goes to those guys up front. They did a nice job. When you don't game plan for an opponent and you go out there and run plays against them, sometimes you get some different looks. But one of the things we wanted to do is see that group grow, and we saw some growth out of that game."
Impressed by 85
Heading into Sunday's game, Whiz wasn't entirely sure how much Antonio Gates would play in the preseason opener. However, the future Hall of Famer's performance proved he truly is an ageless wonder as he enters his 15th season in the league. With two catches in limited playing time, including a touchdown, Whisenhunt was pleased with the tight end's performance.
"It was pretty impressive. He hadn't done much…but we didn't know for sure how much we were going to play him in this game. He got a part of 13 snaps, did a nice job in the run game and obviously made the big play for the touchdown. It was impressive."
Evaluation of Cardale Jones
Jones has had a whirlwind few weeks since joining the Bolts in late July. With only two full weeks of practice under his belt, he saw game action for the first time as a Charger. Though he finished his portion of the game two of nine for 50 yards, Whiz saw positives with Jones' presence on the field. Much like the gelling of the offensive line, Jones' growth can only go up as the preseason rolls on.
* "There are some things that he's got to do better; some things he's got to see quicker and react quicker…. Where I was pleased with him was…being able to call the play, get everybody in the right spot and run the offense. He did a pretty good job with that. As far as some of the actual mechanics of handling the game; some of his reads, some of the throws, some of those things he's got to get better at, but it was his first game. We expect to see growth in that as we progress."*