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Staying healthy is Derwin James’ No. 1 priority in 2020

The star safety missed 11 games in 2019 due to a prior screw bending inside of his foot.

SiriusXM At Super Bowl LIV - Day 1 Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

What’s going on everyone? I’m back with another edition of my notes and thoughts from the team’s latest Zoom call. On Wednesday afternoon, we got to talk with safety Derwin James.

As we come to expect, he was confident and smiling all the way through. He’s one of my favorite Chargers to talk to and I’m looking forward to hearing from him after the season starts.

Enjoy!

  • One of the more humorous moments from the Hard Knocks premiere was when Anthony Lynn slyly stole a pair of Oakleys from Derwin James during one of the team’s practices. James was asked about that pair of glasses and he let media know he still hasn’t seen them since that day. Looks like Lynn did a heck of a pickpocket job. As they say, it’s always the people you trust the most.
  • One of the biggest pieces of information we received from James on Wednesday was this little tidbit. Apparently, during his rookie season where he was named a First-Team All-Pro, James was going almost solely off pure athletic ability, alone. Yes, you heard that right. The 2018 first-round pick admitted he was more of an instinctual player that year instead of going based off knowledge of the scheme/situation. He also mentioned that is football IQ is “a lot higher” at this point in his career. Combine both of those things and you’ve got one scary season for James waiting in the wings.
  • With all the talk of this team’s secondary, the team’s second-round pick in 2019, safety Nasir Adderley, seems to be fading too far into an afterthought. James was asked about Naz’s path back to full health and what we can expect to see from him in 2020: “I think he’s due for a big year,” James said. He also mentioned he’s fully-healthy and is looking as explosive as ever. This is all great to hear. It is still unknown about how Adderley will get on the field with Rayshawn Jenkins still being the team’s incumbent at the position. Maybe the team messes around with three safeties in a Dime package? Maybe he’ll consistently rotate in with Jenkins until they’ve decided one is better than the other? We’ll just have to be patient with this one.
  • When asked about his thoughts on Anthony Lynn as their head coach, James couldn’t help but rave. “He’s an alpha dog. He walks in and everybody knows he’s the guy. That’s Coach.” The level at which this team respects the guy calling the shots is exactly the type of dynamic you want to see on your favorite football team. This is a big reason why I think the people tarnishing his coaching after one ill-fated season are jumping the gun. When the team was relatively healthy, the Chargers went 12-4. The year before, a series of unfortunate events led to the team missing out on the playoffs with a 9-7 record. Two good years are not out-weighed by a single lousy campaign with plenty of freak injuries.
  • Finally, when asked about his expectations were for his 2020 season, James said his biggest priority is to stay healthy and play all 16 games. After missing 11 contests last year, he’s not taking any time out on the field for granted. Without James in 2019, the defense was missing their biggest spark plug. Aside from Bosa, he’s the guy the Chargers look for to make the game-breaking, momentum-shifting play. After tying for the league low in takeaways a season ago, the Bolts will need that type of play more than ever.