It was obvious to see: Joey Bosa returned to Hoag Performance Center on Monday for organized team activities in tip-top shape.
"Thanks," he said. "It's probably just the haircut."
Fresh cut and dry humor aside, the Pro Bowl defensive end explained that training in the hot Florida sun coupled with his mom's offseason meals has him leaner entering his fourth NFL season. Bosa said his playing weight is the same – around 270 pounds – just with more muscle.
"He looks awesome," Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley said of Bosa. "He feels really good. So, to get him back on the field – just that brotherhood part where the guys are together again – I think that's important. You can always count on him. It's great to see him. He looks to be in great shape."
When it comes to football, Bosa said there's no substitute for actually being with his teammates and coaches. He said the next two weeks and the upcoming June minicamp are opportunities to knock the rust off and further improve his craft as a pass rusher.
A foot injury suffered in training camp last season sidelined Bosa until Week 11. He finished 2018 with 5.5 sacks in six starts.
Entering OTAs, Bosa said he has no limitations.
"I'm as fast and strong as I've ever been in my life," Bosa said. "It's just about some little things like my hands and stuff, but as a defensive lineman, you're going to deal with that stuff. I just have to take care of myself in that sense, tape up and keep doing what I'm doing."
Bosa said he preemptively approached some of his new teammates Monday to introduce himself and learn names. They already had a few questions for him about technique.
It may behoove them to just watch and learn.
"On the field, he brings it every single play," Head Coach Anthony Lynn said. "He brings it."
A new-look quarterbacks room
Philip Rivers took the field this week with a pair of new teammates in his position group.
Nine-year veteran Tyrod Taylor and rookie Easton Stick have joined a 2019 quarterbacks room that includes Rivers and four-year veteran Cardale Jones. On Tuesday at the second annual Los Angeles Chargers Invitational Golf Tournament, Taylor described his early impressions of working with No. 17 on a daily basis.
"He brings a ton of knowledge to the game," Taylor said of Rivers. "He's played at a very high level basically his entire career. So, I'm still learning from him each and every day in the classroom and little things on the field as well."
A veteran is always acquiring knowledge, but not as much as an NFL rookie needs to. Taylor said he can think back to when he first entered the league and empathize with Stick's position.
According to Taylor, the quicker a player can catch up mentally, the better off he'll be. Stick has the benefit of sharing a classroom with three vets, one of which is likely a future Hall of Famer.
"[I'm] just trying to absorb as much as I can and translate it out on the field," Stick said. "But, I'm in a really good spot to learn with good guys around me. So, I feel pretty fortunate in that regard."
The 29-year-old Taylor has 46 career starts in the NFL. He's been to a Pro Bowl. Whether it's Stick or any other newcomer on the Chargers' offense, Taylor explained the importance of imparting wisdom on teammates who may not have the requisite pro experience.
"It definitely takes me, Philip – all the veteran guys – to shed any type of light that we have or any type [of experience we've had] to the younger players to get us to where we ultimately want to go, which is to win a Super Bowl," he said.
Brandon Mebane on entering season No. 13
Nose tackle Brandon Mebane was a guest on Thursday's new episode of Chargers Weekly, the official podcast of the team.
The defensive leader and captain discussed the start of his 13th NFL season, expectations for 2019 and more. The Los Angeles Times' Jeff Miller also joined the podcast to discuss OTAs and his recent piece on All-Pro cornerback Desmond King.
Listen to the both interviews on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, YouTube and the official Chargers app. A five-star rating/review is appreciated and will help spread the word to other fans this offseason.