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Three Takeaways from Chargers OTAs: Justin Herbert the 'Perfectionist'

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All three Chargers coordinators spoke at length after Tuesday's OTA practice. We'll have much more throughout the week, but in the meantime, here are three quick-hitting takeaways:

Justin Herbert the 'perfectionist'

After 12 seasons working with quarterback Drew Brees, Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi is going from a future Hall of Famer in New Orleans to the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year in Los Angeles.

In his second NFL season, quarterback Justin Herbert has been tasked with learning Lombardi's new offense. And while Herbert hasn't been able to showcase his arm during OTAs, his new OC is pleased with his offseason progress.

"He's very smart," Lombardi said. "He's very competitive. He's a perfectionist. You can see why he was so successful last year. He wants to be great and he wants to do everything perfectly. I'm excited to keep moving forward in the process with him. He's fun to be around.

"I'm sure it's frustrating for him. He drops back, and then he just kind of holds the football because we're not throwing it. I can't wait to see him start letting it loose. This process is going to be very good in the long run, just as far as learning and everything. Looking forward to seeing him go full-speed."

When asked to compare the recently retired Brees (6-foot-0 with 286 career NFL starts) to the up-and-coming Herbert (6-foot-6 with 15 NFL starts), Lombardi identified a few commonalities. 

"[How] I would compare them is that they're both perfectionists," Lombardi said. "They both take their craft very seriously. They both want to go out and do everything right and they're both smart guys who learn well."

Check out the best photos from Tuesday's OTA at Hoag Performance Center.

Defense competing with Kahoot!

Safety Nasir Adderley has taken notice of the competitive culture being established by head coach Brandon Staley and defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill.

"We're competing in the meeting rooms, competing in the weight room, and you can tell everyone is feeling optimistic and just excited about this year coming up," Adderley said. "I feel like we have a very special team. It's up to us to put the work in."

Hill said when the defense is divided on two separate fields, the group will collectively look at the film to see which side had the better reps. It's a reminder that even when the coaches aren't present, the onus is on the players to always bring their best. 

Hill also revealed that the team uses the game-based learning platform Kahoot! to compete through quizzes.

"We're trying to test their knowledge on what they retained from the day and see if they can spit it back at us," he said. "Those guys get competitive in those modes. It was amazing to just see after the first day we did it. We just did a test run on Chargers history, and at the end of that, [S] Derwin [James] was pissed. Right there, you just know that you have a competitive group."

In case you were wondering, Adderley has been dominating the quizzes thus far, according to Hill.

'If you come to me with a question, make sure you're just not bringing me an apple.'

The best chance for undrafted free agents and select rookies to make an NFL roster is to excel on special teams. That means several players on this 80-plus-man roster will need to impress special teams coordinator Derius Swinton II between now and the end of August.

In addition to meetings, Swinton II said he and assistant special teams coordinator Mayur Chaudhari provide the players with voiceovers, PowerPoint presentations and videos that they can watch on their own. But if someone has a question, the answer should lie outside the materials they already have access to. 

"I come from a schoolteacher and I tell them this all the time: 'If you come to me with a question, make sure you're just not bringing me an apple,'" Swinton II said. "Make sure it's a specific question." 

Swinton II added that he's been getting more precise questions, which leads to less time wasted.

"… Because I tell them all the time, 'My job as a coach is to make sure all of you guys are employed in the NFL at the end of training camp,'" Swinton II said. "'You might not be employed with the Chargers, but you'll be employed and that's my job.'

"And so I tell them, 'Come with questions where you've looked a little bit to see if the answer's out there and if it's not, then we can revisit it.' But I try to put enough tools – and Mayur does a good job with the voiceovers – put enough tools out there so these guys have resources before they come and they're not just bringing the teacher an apple."

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