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5 takeaways from Jim Harbaugh’s introductory press conference

Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh was welcomed by members of the media on Thursday.

New Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media for roughly an hour on Thursday afternoon for his introductory press conference. After words from both Dean and John Spanos, Harbaugh took to the podium with a marked level of energy and motivation we’ve come to expect from him.

Here are my biggest takeaways from his time at the podium:

1.) Jim Harbaugh is certainly a treasure

If there was one thing that Harbaugh’s introductory press conference left you as, it was entertained. The 60-year fielded a myriad of questions from reporters but if you paid attention close enough, you’d notice that he didn’t often give much of an answer. Sure, the ones that were thrown underhand to him he’d hit out of the park with a one-liner or two but when asked questions like “What traits/aspects to do you look for/covet when building your teams into competitors?” he instead shared an anecdote about him and his brother living in the same room at a time when the family was living in Iowa City. It ended with, once again, his motivational quip of “WHO HAS IT BETTER THAN US? NOBODY!” and so despite learning nothing about his team-building process, we at least left the moment with a short infusion of excitement for the future.

2.) The Harbaugh-isms have commenced

The new Chargers has long been a proponent for comical zingers and motivational metaphors. He’s not a boring individual and I think that will immediately set him up well now that he’s living in the entertainment capital of the world.

One of the first “Harbaugh-isms” that he dropped during Thursday’s press conference was when he referred to the weight room as an “all-you-can-eat buffet” after being told by his players how hungry they are for success. It was a comical moment but it still spoke volumes about the kind of motivator he’s going to be. While some may call him quirky or offbeat, the ones who share the same goals as him will understand that he’s a coach figuring out the most effective way to connect and propel his players.

3.) He wants to build a staff that worthy of coaching players like Justin Herbert and Derwin James

When asked about his star quarterback, Harbaugh called him “an enormous talent” and raved about what he’s able to do on the field. He then went on to admit how early he wakes up these days with the mindset that he has to “bring his a-game in every sense of the word” to make sure he’s giving his star players the best coaching possible, on top of building a staff that he deems worthy to coach guys like Herbert, Derwin James, and Rashawn Slater.

Harbaugh isn’t wrong to name drop some of the stars on this Chargers team. There’s quite a few when you consider Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa on top of those three names, but he’ll certainly have his hands full in fixing their less-than-ideal cap situation, which happens to exist due to the cost of employing those said stars.

4.) He’s excited to work with new general manager Joe Hortiz and his “tremendous track record”

When asked about how he foresees the relationship with new general manager Joe Hortiz, Harbaugh made sure to let everyone in attendance know that he trusts a lot of people within the game of football, but none more than his brother John. Hortiz comes from spending the past 25 years with the Baltimore Ravens franchise and now joins the other brother in Los Angeles. When his brother told Jim that Hortiz would be a phenomenal pick for the team’s newest general manager, he didn’t have any second thoughts about the decision, noting Hortiz’s “tremendous track record” when it comes to roster construction.

Hortiz has helped turn the Ravens into one of the best “line of scrimmage” teams in the NFL during his time as the director of player personnel and that’s exactly how Harbaugh likes to build his teams.

5.) Harbaugh confirmed that former Michigan S&C coach Ben Herbert will be joining him in Los Angeles

This has already been reported but it’s the first time that the news has come straight from the horse’s mouth. Herbert was widely viewed as a pivotal player in the Wolverine’s recent success and as then-Wolverines defensive coordinator Jesse Minter put it during an interview at the College Football Playoff, player development is “at the epicenter” of the program and it looks like Harbaugh is hoping to instill that same idea with the Chargers. Former general manager Tom Telesco liked to say he preferred developing his own talent, but things did not play out that way often as he rarely offered second contracts to his draft picks, specifically ones drafted outside the first round.

Another aspect in which Herbert could help the team is their ability to stay healthy from season to season. The Chargers have been synonymous with injuries over the past decade and their fate each and every season seems directly tied to how healthy their stars have been on one of the league’s most top-heavy rosters. If Herbert can manage to deepen this team’s depth by simply working hard in the weight room, then by all means he could be one of the best adds this offseason.