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Three Takeaways: How is Donald Parham Jr. Evolving into a Complete Tight End?

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Below are three takeaways from Thursday's press conference with Renaldo Hill, Joe Lombardi, and Donald Parham Jr.

Two TDs in two weeks for Parham Jr.

In the first quarter of the Chargers game against the Raiders on Monday Night Football, second year tight end Donald Parham Jr. hauled in a touchdown pass from Justin Herbert to put the Bolts up 7-0. Parham Jr., who stands at six-foot-eight inches tall, celebrated by replicating a dance made famous by Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the NBA finals while on the Golden State Warriors.

Parham Jr. made sure to secure the touchdown, but also made sure he nailed Durant's dance down.

"Every day of that week, I was practicing," Parham Jr. said with a smile. "In the bathroom, in the shower, everywhere. Just practicing it to make sure that I had it right."

Parham Jr., who is living proof that practice makes perfect, now has touchdowns in back-to-back games for the Chargers in Weeks 4 and 5, just one touchdown short of matching his total touchdowns a season ago.

On Thursday, the 24-year-old tight end talked about how he's fitting in within this offensive scheme under head coach Brandon Staley and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.

"I fit pretty well," Parham Jr. said. "I really can't complain about the trust they have in me to be in the run game, also in the pass game. With the tight end role specifically, we have a very big role in this offense. It's really heartwarming to have that trust in our room."

Parham Jr. explained the game has 'slowed down' for him mentally which has helped him towards developing into a complete tight end. A big part of his role in this offense is blocking, which Parham Jr. put a big focus on in the offseason. Parham Jr. explained things that have helped improve his game, from working with the offensive linemen to improving his lower body strength.

However, maybe the biggest thing has been having fellow tight end Jared Cook as a leader in the tight end room.

"He's like that father-figure in a sense," he said. "He brings so much wisdom playing for different teams, playing for so long. It's just a great thing for him to be in the room with us because he's always giving us tips for how to beat this guy; how to do this, how to do that. It's really important for him to be here for us."

Lombardi talked about the growth he's seen in Parham Jr. first-hand and how 'surprised' he was to see Parham Jr.'s ability to run after the catch.

"I'm really proud of him," Lombardi said. "He's a guy that when I got here and looked at him, I thought that he would be a receiving tight end, a guy that you activate in the red zone. As practices went on, his blocking kept coming on... He's young. I think that you're just going to see this ascension from that guy that is going to be fun to watch. It's amazing how well he runs after the catch, for as tall as he is. I'm very excited about him and his future."

Preparing for the Ravens' 'main targets'

The Ravens put together an impressive overtime win over the Colts on Monday Night Football in Week 5. During that game, Lamar Jackson threw for 442 yards, with Marquise "Hollywood" Brown hauling in 125 of those yards and two touchdowns to go along with it.

Chargers defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill talked about what the Bolts defense needs to do to slow down the receiving corps in Baltimore.

"They're going to have alignments where they really express themselves," Hill said. "But we know if he's [Ravens QB Lamar Jackson] in trouble, he's going to find those guys. We just have to make sure we stay connected to them and make sure we identify those guys. We know if it's a scramble pattern, we just have to make sure we pay attention to those scramble patterns. Make sure we don't let those guys leak out. We know they're his main targets, he's looking for them, and we just have to know where they're at all times."

Earlier in the week, cornerback Chris Harris Jr. talked about what the defense needs to do to get the job done and how facing talented receivers in the previous weeks has helped the Bolts prepare for Week 6.

"He's [Ravens WR Marquise 'Hollywood' Brown] a guy that you have to know. But that's what we're used to; we play [Chiefs WR] Tyreek Hill, we play [Raiders WR Henry] Ruggs [III] we play a lot of speed receivers that do that. It's just another one on our list."

'He knows the right things to say at the right time'

A big focus on Lombardi's press conference was the leadership that Staley has brought to the Chargers and the success he has had as a first-time coach early into the season.

Lombardi explained Staley has always been a leader, going back to their days together at Dayton, and talked about why the 'spirit and energy' Staley brings to the team has been so effective.

"You can tell that he cares," Lombardi said. "His honesty, his integrity, I think that the players can see that. They know that he has their best interests at heart. As a head coach for the first time, and as a young guy, his instincts are fantastic.

For Staley it's not all about football. Lombardi explained the pride the Bolts head coach has in building relationships as a team and the combination of attributes Staley has that make him a great leader.

"He knows the right things to say at the right time," he said. "He has such a broad knowledge of football — offensively, defensively and on special teams — that he's able to speak the language to both sides of the ball, and really paint a picture of how we need to win every game. That expertise that he has, his communication style and his integrity, I think it's a good combination."

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