The red-hot Chargers returned to Hoag Performance Center on Monday after some well-deserved rest and relaxation.
The team has been grinding nonstop since they reported for training camp in late July, and the fruits of their labor have clearly paid off as they sport a 5-2 record and are winners of four in a row.
Thus, Head Coach Anthony Lynn gave the team an entire week off to recuperate before returning to fully recharge.
"I think it's important for them to get away," he explained in his first remarks since returning from the bye. "They've been at it for a long time, since training camp. I thought it was important for them to just get away for the whole week and spend some time with their families. Mentally, I think that's good."
His players not only appreciate it, but they agree wholeheartedly.
"That was real big," said Mike Williams. "We made sure we all took care of our bodies and stuck to our routine. Giving us this time away shows that he trusts us to do what we need to do. And we did. We had a good day (back today). There's a big trust between all of us."
"Getting some time away from football to get back with our families was important," added Desmond King. "It's good to get your mind off of football for a bit and get some down time to recover. To get our bodies back in good shape for the season. So we appreciate him giving us the whole week."
Clearly, some time away to decompress came at a perfect time for the Bolts.
Now it's time to get to work.
As in any profession, it's only natural to have a heightened sense of purpose the closer you get to your goals. Thus, while the Chargers have proved to be one of the top teams in the league, there are still things Lynn knows Los Angeles must improve over the second half of the season.
In fact, there are two areas he was quick to mention when pressed for specifics.
"Third down on both sides of the ball, and continuing to improve the kicking game on special teams," he said. "Not just field goals, but kickoffs and things like that. We definitely have a lot of improvement (we can make) and things that we can focus on to get better at. Being at seven games, we're not there yet, but I do feel like the guys are moving in the right direction. I do feel that."
A closer look at the numbers explains why Lynn stressed both areas.
Third down efficiency has long been a staple of the offense; however, this year they've converted only 29 of 78 attempts. While there is a lot to like about the way Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt's offense is carving up defenses, the 37.2 percent conversion rate ranks 23rd in the NFL. Thus, it's something the team is hellbent on improving….and they're confident they'll do just that.
"We know we have to be better at it, but we're not worried," said Tyrell Williams. "It's something we've always been good at, so it will come. Once it does, it'll take us to another level."
Defensively, the Bolts have allowed opposing offenses to convert on 41 of 89 attempts for a 46.1 percent conversation rate. That is the fifth highest mark in the league, so bowing up on third down is top of mind as well.
"Everything starts with communication and everybody being accountable," said Brandon Mebane, whose voice carries a lot of weight as a defensive captain. "We've done a lot of good things, but this is something we have to improve on. Once we improve on third down, we're going to really be on our way to doing even more great things."
The Chargers will get their first chance to improve those areas when they face the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
While it's natural to look at the big picture around the bye week and reassess the team as a whole, Lynn stressed how the team's main focus at the moment is finding a way to net their fifth-straight win this weekend and improve to 6-2.
"(We're) just trying to get through the second quarter (of our season) right now," Lynn said. "We've got one more game left for this second quarter. We'd like to finish the second quarter 4-0 if we can, so right now we're just trying to do everything possible to get that done."
The Chargers take the practice field after the bye week in preparation for the Seattle Seahawks.