2020 has been a year unlike any other.
But along with rookies needing to get acclimated to their new team, so too do the free agent acquisitions teams made in the spring.
Enter one of those on the Bolts in Bryan Bulaga.
Bulaga is entering his 11th season in the NFL but first with the Chargers and training camp has been his first opportunity to physically take to the field with his new teammates.
"It's been good to get out here and get to work and get to know my new teammates a little bit better and get that process going with the offensive line," Bulaga said. "We're starting to communicate and have everyone get on the same page."
After spending a decade with the Green Bay Packers, Bulaga is now lining up opposite the likes of guys like Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Two players who he cites as being very "special" and will help him get ready for the regular season on a shortened offseason program.
"Having to go against Bosa and Ingram and these guys, this is something that is gonna help me prepare so much for the season because you just don't see defensive ends like that every day," he mentioned. "We had some good d-ends in Green Bay in my time there (like Julius) Peppers, (Clay) Matthews and the two Smith guys (Za'Darius and Preston) there right now. Man, Joey and Ingram are something special."
Despite the new team and new city, one thing that's remained familiar for Bulaga is the reunion with current offensive line coach James Campen, who he played for with the Packers.
With a new right side to the offensive line with him and guard Trai Turner, to Sam Tevi making the transition to left tackle, camp is where the camaraderie between players on the line is forged and Bulaga said Campen's style of coaching has a lot to do with pushing that along.
"He understands that not every guy is built the same. What I do is not the same thing as Tevi's gonna do. What (Dan) Feeney's doing is not gonna be the same that Trai Turner's doing. He realizes that and lets guys play within their strengths and things that are their weaknesses, it's tuning that up and shoring that up, but he doesn't change guys to fit a cookie cutter mold which I think is rare in this league. That's one thing that I've always appreciated the most about Coach Campen, is he doesn't try to fit everyone into one square peg. He lets guys be themselves and win progress as a player within a realm. But he doesn't try to make one guy be just like the next and I think that's important."
Check out some photos from Sunday, August 23rd's session of Chargers Training Camp 2020, presented by SoFi.
Odds & Ends
DT Justin Jones on Linval Joseph: "He's played a lot of football, been in the league a lot of years. He's been a good player for a number of years. Even in college. So (he brings) knowledge; you never get enough knowledge. (Former Chargers NT Brandon) Mebane told me my rookie year, 'The day you stop learning is the day you're out of the league.' So obviously (I'm) picking his brain with whatever questions I have, that's huge for me. Huge for our d-line. We have a lot of young guys on the team so it's huge for all of us."
ST coordinator George Stewart on creativity without preseason games: "In practice, we've reduced the field because we don't want those big collisions in terms of what we're doing … We're trying to get things done from that standpoint. We're still having some physical contact, but it's not 40 or 50 yards away, it's more 20 yards to have guys make some contact, get on get off blocks, shed blocks, try to be more realistic as possible but with the same mindset of keeping your players safe."
Bulaga on the offensive line: "There's a lot that we need to accomplish in a short amount of time. I think a thing that's going to help us is our experience. Pounce (Mike Pouncey) in the middle's played a lot of football. Trai Turner's played a lot of football. I've played a lot of ball. Dan Feeney's played a lot of ball and Tevi's right now is the guy who's a little bit less experienced. But I think we have a good group. In meetings and what not, I feel like we're all getting along very well. Guys are having good conversations and making sure we're all on the same page with each other."
Jones on entering his third season: "Confidence is a big thing. Explosiveness off the ball. I've definitely been training at that all offseason. I changed my body around like I did the previous season. This year focusing on body fat and gaining more muscle and all things like that. So being quick off the ball, being quick-twitch (and) having that lateral quickness. Obviously, you need that for d-line, especially being an interior guy. Staying strong at the point of attack … bringing all the things to the field I've been working on all offseason, so I'm excited for that going into the season."