Virgil Green emphatically declared he wanted to show his true self this season when he inked a three-year deal to become a Charger back in March.
The 30-year-old joined the Bolts after spending his first seven years in Denver, totaling 71 passes for 807 yards and four touchdowns in 100 career games with the Broncos as he was predominantly known as a blocker. The dirty work in the trenches often goes unappreciated by those on the outside, so he longed for a chance to show he can do much more.
He's certainly done that in 2018.
Green's started all 15 games to date for the Bolts, posting the second-most productive year of his career. He's hauled in 19 receptions for 210 yards and one TD, which is nearly on par with his 2016 season in which he caught 22 passes for 22 yards and one score. In addition to his prowess as a top-notch blocker, Green's carved out a meaningful role as a reliable receiver despite playing in an offense loaded with weapons.
Simply put, his stability and reliability have been invaluable for the 11-4 Chargers.
"When we lost Hunter (Henry), you always worry about what're you going to do from the stability point with that position," Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt explained. "Virgil has been really good. He's done a great job with that. He's a very unselfish player. He's a tremendous blocker, and he's done a good job in the pass game and worked hard. It was a tremendous move by (General Manager) Tom (Telesco) and his group to get Virgil signed because that position's always hard to find guys that you think can be as consistent as Virgil has been. He's been a really good player for us. We're certainly thrilled to have Virgil."
The feeling is mutual.
As he makes his first trip back to Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Green emphasized how appreciative he feels to be appreciated at Hoag Performance Center. From the coaches to the front office to his teammates, the tight end feels the love.
"I feel like here, I feel like not only from my teammates but from the coaches, from the organization, I feel like the work (is respected)," he said.
That means the world to him as he believes this offense is as special as any he's been a part of, which includes all those years he played alongside Peyton Manning. However, he believes the Chargers' diversity adds a unique element unlike what they had during those high-flying days in Denver.
"We can do a lot of things (here)," he said. "When we were with Peyton in Denver, you knew we were going to pass the ball. Here, you know we're going to pass the ball, but we're going to run the ball, too, and we're going to do it effectively. (We) haven't done it as well these last few weeks, but we'd like to get back to that heading into the playoffs and really get this train rolling."
While his contributions are appreciated on the field, Green's role off of it is equally important.
That's especially the case in the coming weeks as the Chargers enter the postseason. This marks the first taste of the playoffs for many in the locker room, so they'll be all ears to hear what Green has to say as he's not only experienced it, but also made it to two Super Bowls while winning one ring.
"To me, you've got to treat this game like a playoff," he said. "You want to go into those playoff games with a full head of steam, focus (and) be more detailed. If you were spending an hour on film a day, get an hour and 30, two hours. Get into your playbook because at this point you've got teams that are going to be doing a lot of different things to make sure that they ensure a win and you've got to go in there prepared. Even if something isn't right, well Week 2 I saw they did this, you've got to just know what's going on and just be prepared wholeheartedly."