Plain and simple, 2018 was a year to remember for the Los Angeles Chargers.
From a 12-4 record, tied for the best in the AFC and their best since 2009, to making the playoffs for the first time since 2013, the Bolts accomplished a lot under Anthony Lynn in his second year leading the team.
But with a taste of that success comes a quest for more, and that kicked off Thursday at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa on the first day of the team’s training camp.
“What we did last year, we can’t carry that over to this year,” Lynn said. “This is a different football team. I want to make sure everyone understands that. I believe we do. We have a good-character group (of) hardworking guys. We kept our core together the best we could, so I expect these guys to (come in), work hard, help one another and continue to get better.”
“We have to recreate the camaraderie (and) recreate the whole deal that we had last year and be even better,” added Philip Rivers. “That just doesn’t happen. We have to do that, and we got the whole thing started today.”
As the quarterback said, rekindling that vibe left from the 2018 Chargers and bringing it to 2019 is the goal of this team. He even alluded to the fact that if they could go in right away and win 12 games again, that’d be awesome. But it doesn’t just happen. It takes a combination of hard work that’s formed in the scorching summer temperatures coupled with a desire that was left in cold New England.
Browse through the top practice photos from the first day of Chargers Camp as the Bolts get ready for the 2019 season.
“I think our guys know and have the right attitude,” Rivers explained. “I also think guys are hungry. We also know how we felt leaving that locker room in New England coming up short. That also kind of adds some fuel to the whole deal, too. But I think we’re in a good frame of mind.”
As for the culture, it helps that it started in 2017 with the arrival of Lynn and has grown during his two years as the team’s head coach. It also helps that despite the overall young age of the Chargers’ current roster, the team still has a number of savvy veterans who know the ropes and will guide the younger players.
So, while we know the camaraderie is forged during camp, that doesn’t mean it ends when camp breaks.
It’s a season-long process and Thursday is just the beginning.
“It’s a little by little deal,” Rivers admitted. “In training camp, you build it. Meeting rooms, you build it. Locker room, you build it. You build it starting in preseason games (and) going against the Rams in practice and Saints in practice. You build it as the year goes. I think that trust, love and togetherness is something that goes (on as the year progresses). It doesn’t just stop, like, ‘How high did you fill it up in training camp?’ That kind of carries, as we saw, throughout the season. It’s just a matter of going and doing it.”