NFL Network's Brian Baldinger paid a visit to Chargers training camp over the weekend.
Known for his popular #BaldyBreakdowns on Twitter, the analyst shared his thoughts on the ascension of wide receiver Mike Williams, All-Pro safety Derwin James, tight end Hunter Henry and more. Below are excerpts from the full interview, which is part of Monday's episode of Chargers Weekly, the official podcast of the team.
The depth and mix of youth and experience on the roster
BB: "When you say the word 'stacked,' it's just a great blend of real experience at key positions. [Center] Mike Pouncey and [quarterback] Philip Rivers, like that connection, it's almost second to none in the industry right now. And then if you add Derwin James, the blossoming of Mike Williams, [defensive back] Desmond King – just the youth that this team also has. It's what you're looking for."
Tight end Hunter Henry's return to the offense
BB: "When you get a player like that [back], it just opens up your playbook and it really gives you the flexibility from a play-calling, but really more importantly, from a personnel [standpoint] of what you can do. You could put three wide receivers out there and you can leave Hunter in there at tight end. Good luck in the run game, good luck in the passing game.
"… If you want to go 11 personnel and just go one back and keep Hunter at tight end. Then you want to put Travis [Benjamin] and Keenan [Allen] and Mike Williams out there, I mean, that's kind of where the league is at right now. But a lot of teams that want to do that, they don't have a tight end that can really block the strong side, that can block ends or outside linebackers and he can do that. So, I mean that's just one personnel package. Obviously, [offensive coordinator] Ken [Whisenhunt] and [head coach] Anthony [Lynn], they can get as multiple as you get."
On Williams entering year three
BB: "When you get a guy like Mike Williams, it's really like he's never covered. He's always open. With his wingspan, with his jumping ability, with his ability to just go get a ball in the local area code. [With] Philip, it's gotten to the point [he] implicitly just trusts him and he can put it out there. And he knows that at the very least it's going to be an incompletion, but it's not gonna get picked and chances are he's probably coming down with it. And I was just talking to Mike before practice – I think he feels like he's back with [quarterback] Deshaun [Watson] at Clemson right now."
Browse through the top photos from Chargers Camp as the Bolts continue to prep for the 2019 season.
On James' impact
BB: "It's already, you go, 'How did he last this long?' … It was a great draft and there [were] a lot of great players in the draft. But [No.] 17 you go, 'How could so many teams pass on a guy like this?' He's a unique player, just unique. And really, it's what the Golden State Warriors have done in the NBA. It's position-less. Like, everybody can handle the ball with the Golden State Warriors, and with Derwin, you can play him anywhere. You put him on the goal line against the Steelers, he's gonna stop [RB] James Conner from getting in the end zone. You want to put him at free safety, he's gonna take a touchdown away from [QB] Patrick Mahomes. You can put him anywhere."