Head Coach Anthony Lynn, Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, quarterback Philip Rivers and safety Jahleel Addae spent nearly 40 minutes combined at the podium earlier this week.
Here are some of the top takeaways from the noteworthy session:
Rivers High on Defense
The question toward the end of Philip Rivers’ press conference with the media was as straight forward as it gets.
Is this the most talented defense he’s been around since he joined the Chargers?
Give the quarterback credit for not beating around the bush.
“Well, shoot, we’ve had some really good defenses,” he said. “But certainly, this has the makeup to be right up there. Shoot, certainly. I really love going against them every day, because they challenge you at every position. They really like to play for and with one another, which is key. I can speak of that offensively, but I now see it on defense. When you’ve got 11 guys pulling in the same direction, you’ve got a chance. Throw in the fact that you have Pro Bowl players over there, they’ve got a chance to be real special.”
Lynn Addresses New Anthem Policy
The head coach knew it was coming.
After fielding questions on the loss of Hunter Henry, young players stepping up and how the first four OTA practices have gone, Anthony Lynn was finally asked the one he was expecting all along.
*“What did you think of the league’s new national anthem policy?” *
“What took you so long?” Lynn responded, drawing chuckles from those in attendance.
“Anthem, no anthem, knee, no knee; it doesn’t matter,” he said. “I can only control what I can control. I don’t think it will affect this team whatsoever. I thought the way this team handled it last year was pretty darn good.
“Our organization has stepped up and created different platforms for our players in the community. We spent well over six figures on the Summer Night Lights program and communities in L.A. We spent over six figures in the Boys & Girls club with educational projects, the STEM program, so we’re giving our guys different platforms to go out in the community and help.”
The policy has been a steady part of the news cycle for nearly a week, and Lynn understands why it’s a hot-button issue. On Tuesday, however, he brought it all back to the original reason for the protests and what the team is doing to enact positive change in the community.
“You have to understand the reason why these players were taking a knee to begin with,” Lynn said. “I’m not tired of that situation. That is an issue. Like I said, I think our organization has stepped up, and we’re trying to make social change, we’re trying to give our guys a platform to make a difference in how they feel so that they don’t have to take a knee during the anthem.”
Who Steps Up?
It’s no secret the Bolts suffered a blow last week when Hunter Henry tore his ACL.
Yes, the young tight ends on the roster must step up, but it’s not just about that position. The other skill positions on the roster will also play a larger role to make up for those targets.
Still, Whiz isn’t worried.
After all, the offense still has Philip Rivers at the helm.
There’s no doubt that certain players will step up, but figuring out which players emerge will be decided in the coming weeks and months.
“Philip always has a great feel for these guys (and) where they’re going to be,” he said. “Whoever it’s going to be, whatever guys step up, or whoever is going to help us in that area, I think the time that we have between even now and training camp, where he gets a feel for that will help that. I think if it was middle of the season, and we brought somebody in, yeah that could be an issue just because you don’t know the intricacies of how they sit in a zone, or how they run an out when they’re trying to lean in on a guy and get out. But I think you see enough of that out here in OTAs, and even in training camp, where you can get a feel for it."
Jahleel Addae spent the first four years of his career at free safety.
Last year, he switched to strong safety, resulting in his best year to date.
However, with the addition of Derwin James, it’s uncertain right now which spot Addae will man in 2018.
The team will use the remainder of the offseason as well as training camp and preseason games to figure out which safety will play free and which will line up at strong.
So which spot does Addae prefer to play?
He insists it doesn’t matter.
The sixth-year pro is capable of manning both spots.
“I’m like Batman and Robin,” he said. “I can do whatever you want me to do. I played free safety my first four years here. Last year was my first season solely in the box. If they want me at the free, I can do that, if they want me in the box, I can do that, too.”
At the same time, Addae admitted the spots require different skillsets.
“(Free safety) is just more of being a ball-hawk back there and making up-field tackles, being the eraser,” he explained. “It’s more (of an) impact on your tackling because you’re coming from a distance, running the alley (and) hitting someone across the middle, but I’ve done it in my career. I did it in college and I’m as comfortable at free safety as I am at strong safety.”