Good morning Chargers fans, and happy Hump Day!
In the Chargers’ Monday presser, we got to speak with Uchenna Nwosu, Mike Williams, offensive line coach Frank Smith, quarterbacks coach Shane Day, and secondary coach Derrick Ansley. Despite everything fitting roughly into an hour’s time, I felt like there was plenty to take away from the event. With that in mind, I’m going to share some of my favorite quotes along with some of my own thoughts thrown in.
OL/Run-Game Coordinator Frank Smith
I was stoked to see Coach Smith on the docket for Monday’s presser. You all know how much I love offensive lineman and I couldn’t wait to ask him some questions. I didn’t want to ask just any simple question, I wanted to get hime talking. I wanted him to discuss a topic I knew he’d want to dive into. My first question was about the type of mindset and/or culture he wanted to bring over from the Raiders offensive line that was the team’s bread and butter for their offense before they decided to blow up the unit earlier this offseason.
“I think Tom did a really good job, as far as the overall mindset and vision of what we were trying to build, especially when we acquired [RB] Josh [Jacobs] and the different pieces over the few years. I think it was an overall process, at the Raiders, from what Coach Gruden was trying to do, what Tom Cable was bringing, and [Offensive Coordinator] Greg Olson, too; it was a collective vision. That’s something that we want to establish here, just from top to bottom. [Head Coach] Brandon [Staley] has been saying it since day one. Working with [Offensive Coordinator] Joe [Lombardi] we have a familiarity with what we’re trying to do. Overall, we’ll try to build it the same way with an overall focus that starts from the top-down, with commitment from how we’re trying to build everything.”
The next question I asked Smith was about how much time does he spend off the field trying to instill a mentality into his players. I mentioned how the offensive line position goes far beyond being the biggest and strongest, so I wanted to know how much the mental plays into the position and how he personally likes to work on the mental side of the position.
“When you’re trying to build your collective group’s culture and vision, this is how we’re going to play, our style of play. For me, it’s always been clear, consistent and concise communication. They have to know the human element that you bring as a coach and know that you’re going to be the good and the bad, ‘I’m with you there all of the way.’ As we grow through the system, there are obviously challenging things that we have to work through in year one, but you’re just consistent and clear in what your expectations are. Then, they know, and they can carry the banner into practice and into the games. I think that’s the most important thing, that the alignment between the coaching staff and the players, and then they feel that it’s never the finger-pointing of, ‘Why didn’t you do this?’ It’s like, ‘Why did you see this? Why did you think that we needed to do that?’ I think that comes in the communication. I think that’s a focal point for all of us, more importantly, when you have to have five working together at a constant play to accomplish what we want to do. I think it’s a daily goal, a daily process, that we do on the field and in the classroom, as far as trying to get that expectation accomplished.”
OLB Uchenna Nwosu
The first question I asked Nwosu was about his responsibilities as a 3-4 edge compared to being a LEO in Gus Bradley’s defense and whether or his role has expanded at all. Here’s what he had to say:
“For the most part, it hasn’t changed. It hasn’t changed, overall, too much. Just a little more drop in, obviously. Dropping into coverage and playing a lot of the short flats, or whatever it may be. Overall, it’s not too big of a change.”
I later asked about Kyler Fackrell who joined the edge group earlier this year. Since we haven’t gotten the chance to speak with Fackrell just yet, I wanted to see what a fellow pass-rusher had to say about the veteran. As of now, it seems like Fackrell is fitting right in.
“It’s looking good for him. He’s played a lot of ball. He’s been in the league for six years, so he’s played a lot of ball. He has a lot of wisdom and intelligence behind him. We know that if anything ever goes wrong, we can always count on him. He always knows what to do and he’s always in the right positions at the right time. I just can’t wait to get on the field with him and, together, see what we can do.”
QB Coach/Passing-Game Coordinator Shane Day
The second Shade Day started speaking, you could tell why he ended up here in Los Angeles with Staley. They both exude an immense amount of energy and genuine passion for their craft which as I said earlier is a nice change of pace.
Here’s what Day had to say about his time thus far with Staley:
“We work really well together. It’s kind of a unique thing; I’ve known Brandon for a while. We met actually before he got in the league. We bounced around and met each other at the combine. We have a couple of friends in common. It’s been really fun to work with him because he’s one of the few guys that’s a defensive head coach but also played quarterback. That’s a very unique experience. I’ve really enjoyed having our conversations because he’s bringing a lot to the room. He’s shared a lot of defensive perspectives with the quarterbacks. When he’s able to frame it from a quarterback’s perspective, that really helps us integrate it into our thought process. I’ve really enjoyed a lot of our conversations. Everything he has shared with our quarterback room, as well, has been really good. It’s been a lot of fun.”