Corey Linsley says improving Chargers’ run game is a ‘collective effort’

Corey Linsley said that improvement in the Chargers’ running game will be a “collective effort.”

For all the fireworks that the Chargers brought to the offensive side of the ball last season, their running game was wildly inconsistent. Despite a herculean effort by Austin Ekeler to carry the team on the ground, Los Angeles couldn’t seem to find their rhythm when they ran the ball.

Still, center Corey Linsley is hopeful that L.A. can improve this key aspect of their attack in 2023.

Linsley spoke to the media after practice on Wednesday about what a fix for the running game might look like. Though the solution would, obviously, be complex, Linsley was optimistic that a more deliberate strategy to their ground game would pay dividends next season.

I think the focusing part of it will help us a lot. There was a little bit of where we didn’t ever get good at one thing last year in the run game. We had our plays that were successful, but they were individual plays. There wasn’t a scheme and we never felt like we got in a flow. Some of it’s on us, some of it is on coaches, some of it is on everybody, right? It’s a collective effort here and it always will be. Majoring in something, just like you said, I think it will help us take a step forward.

Having Ekeler back should help. The return of Rashawn Slater, who missed most of the 2022 season with a torn biceps should, as well. Additionally, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will be a vital piece. In his four years as OC for the Cowboys, Moore coached the seventh-best rushing offense in that timespan.

With a more honed-in approach, the Chargers should be able to find far more sustained success when they run the ball. If Los Angeles can find its identity on the ground during training camp and the preseason later in the summer, the team could surprise opponents with a dynamic offensive attack that isn’t totally reliant on Justin Herbert to move the ball upfield and score points.

CB J.C. Jackson at Chargers OTAs, participating in on-field individual drills

J.C. Jackson is progressing really well.

Cornerback J.C. Jackson was on the field going through individual drills at Chargers organized team activities (OTAs) on Friday.

Jackson has been out for the last seven months after suffering a season-ending patellar tendon injury against the Seahawks.

Since then, Jackson has steadily been working his way back to full health, posting videos of him working out on his Instagram. Last month, he said the goal is to be 100% when the season gets here.

After starting his career with the Patriots, Jackson signed a five-year contract worth $82.5 million with Los Angeles last offseason.

Jackson’s first season with the Bolts wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows as he struggled to find his footing in Brandon Staley’s defense, leading to getting benched. And then the injury occurred.

Jackson could boost the Chargers’ defense if he can get back to live-game shape and play like the All-Pro corner he once was with New England.

Chargers DC Derrick Ansley on DB Ja’Sir Taylor: ‘He is mature past his age’

Defensive back Ja’Sir Taylor made a great impression on defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley during the #Chargers’ offseason program

The Los Angeles Chargers will rely on their defensive secondary to shut down opponents during the 2023 season, and coordinator Derrick Ansley told the media on Wednesday that one unheralded player seems poised to help in that effort.

2022 sixth-round pick Ja’Sir Taylor, he said, was showing a savviness beyond what he expected, and may factor into the Chargers’ defensive strategy if he wins a spot on the 53-man roster after the preseason.

“He’s mature past his age,” Ansley said of Taylor. “He’s a very quiet kid, very observant. He understands the big picture. He’s working hard, just like how the other stars are working hard. That is going to be an interesting battle once we get to camp.”

Taylor made three starts last season as a rookie and used his elite speed to chase down ball carriers for 22 combined tackles. With just a single pass defensed in 2022, the jury is still out on his ball skills, but with quotes like this coming out of Los Angeles’ mandatory minicamp, Taylor is certainly a player that fans should keep their eyes on.

Chargers WR Quentin Johnston receives praise from idol Davante Adams

Fanatics shared a heartwarming documentary short showing the rookie class being surprised with positive words and advice from their idols.

Fanatics shared a heartwarming documentary short showing the rookie class being surprised with positive words and advice from their idols. Colts QB Anthony Richardson received a personal message from Tom Brady, Ravens WR Zay Flowers heard from Steve Smith Sr., and Chargers WR Quentin Johnston heard from his idol Davante Adams.

Fanatics aimed to give the rookies a moment they would never forget and welcome them into the league with words of affirmation and a signed jersey from their idols that they have always looked up to. Johnston was one of the only rookies in the class to receive his message from a player still in the league – a player he will see at least twice a year and compete against within his own division.

Adams was the player that Johnston watched the most in college, and Adams extended a compliment to Johnston in his video message today, stating, “[I’m] proud of you man, big fan of you and the way you play the game.” Earlier this off-season, Johnston discussed how he models his own game after Adams on Good Morning Football, saying, “From his release to the way he makes his routes look different… Even though our playstyle is still different, I still try my best – especially off the line.”

Johnston has been showing out at camp, getting great separation from the secondary and garnering significant praise from coaches and players alike – including his ‘football idol.’

6 remaining free agents Chargers should consider signing

There are some position groups the Chargers still need to shore up.

After free agency and the draft, the Chargers’ roster is nearly set ahead of training camp. Still, there are some position groups that need to be shored up.

With that being said, here are six free agents Los Angeles could consider signing.

NFL Network to air every Chargers preseason game live in 2023

You can catch every Chargers preseason game on NFL Network.

The Chargers are a couple of months away from kicking off their three-game preseason slate, and you’ll be able to tune in to each one.

Starting on Aug. 12 when the Bolts face their hometown rival, Rams, NFL Network will broadcast the action live.

Here’s a look at the preseason slate:

Chargers at Rams | Saturday, Aug. 12 | 7 p.m. PT.

Saints at Chargers | Sunday, Aug. 20 | 4 p.m. PT.

Chargers at 49ers | Friday, Aug. 25 | 8 p.m. PT.

Live streaming of NFL Network is available across multiple devices (smartphone, PC, tablet and connected TVs) through the NFL app or online for subscribers of participating NFL Network providers.

Where Chargers’ Brandon Staley ranks among head coaches in 2023

The 33rd Team released their rankings of all 32 head coaches heading into the 2023 season. 

The 33rd Team released their rankings of all 32 head coaches heading into the 2023 season.

Brandon Staley checked in at No. 20 overall.

I’m not quite sure what to make of Staley at this point. He has two winning seasons, but it feels like the Los Angeles Chargers lose a bunch of close games they shouldn’t. Case in point, their Wild Card playoff debacle in Jacksonville.

Staley is entering his third year as the Chargers’ head coach with a 19-15 record with one trip to the playoffs under his belt, which came last season, resulting in a collapse to the Jaguars after being up 27-0.

There had been some speculations that after the implosion against Jacksonville, Staley would be fired.

Despite blowing the third-largest lead in NFL postseason history, Staley improved from 9-8 in his first season to 10-7 and took Los Angeles to the playoffs for the first time since 2018, all while dealing with a handful of injuries to key players.

Staley made coaching staff changes this offseason, adding a new offensive coordinator in Kellen Moore and a quarterbacks coach in Doug Nussmeier. He is banking on those additions to elevate the skills of quarterback Justin Herbert and for the team to stay healthy.

Time will tell if the Chargers can make a deeper run. But with all the talent on the roster, if they fail to do so, Staley could be on the hot seat.

Chargers QB Justin Herbert’s updated throwing mechanics at OTAs

Justin Herbert went to work on his throwing mechanics this offseason and it is noticeable.

As the Chargers work their way through four weeks of OTAs, we’re seeing some exciting new players stand out and the team culture flourish. Everyone is hungry for kickoff and ready to seek redemption after the previous year’s heartbreaking ending. Over the course of the 2022 season, the Bolts had their struggles; from injuries to the offensive scheme, it wasn’t an easy road to the playoffs – and someone who saw less production because of this was quarterback Justin Herbert.

Since entering the league in 2020, Herbert has stood out among young quarterbacks; touting impressive stat lines, athleticism, and an elite pocket presence. In 2021, he remained one of the top 5 – and more often than not top 2 – quarterbacks in the league in nearly every possible stat. The expectation was that production would continue to increase, but with a rib injury, an injured roster, and a scheme that failed to highlight his best qualities – the production dropped. Yet through these highs and lows in his first 3 years, one thing has been consistent: his throwing mechanics.

For his first three seasons, Herbert’s throwing mechanics was that of a low-release side-arm variety. The side-arm throw is a mechanic that quarterbacks, like Patrick Mahomes use as a means of passing around a defensive player or as a tricky pass when scrambling to the right. We saw Herbert execute many of these passes in 2020 and 2021. Still, the mechanic continued to embed itself into his overall throwing motion in the 2022 season – which could have been a byproduct of his rib injury or just a general coaching strategy on Shane Day’s part. As we continue to watch Herbert in OTAs this summer, we can see a clear change in the way he passes the football. His release is higher, the arc of the pass is lifted, and thankfully the velocity is still of an elite caliber.

This is very good news for Chargers fans this coming season. With a healthy wide receiver corps to work with and an exciting new scheme from offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, the uptick in Herbert’s production should be highly noticeable. At 6-foot-6, Herbert stands tall behind his offensive line but struggled with batted balls because of his lower release and a more predictable offense in 2022. The high release should limit the amount of batted balls we see this coming season since the release point of his passes will come close to reaching eight feet above the ground – much too high for most defensive linemen to get a hand on. On top of this, Moore’s projected offensive scheme will allow Herbert to uncork deeper passes in a more complex playbook which will increase his yards per play as well as allow his new high release point to hit that 8-foot maximum as frequently as possible.

Almost every elite quarterback we see in the NFL ends up working on their mechanics, ultimately increasing their success likelihood and their stat line. We saw this happen when Josh Allen had the opportunity to focus on his mechanics with now Giants head coach Brian Daboll. Immediately after working on his mechanics, Allen was executing MVP-level seasons and leading his team to the playoffs year in and year out. Daboll continued this quarterback success by elevating the mechanics and production of Daniel Jones in 2022. This type of work bodes well for the future of Herbert and the team as a whole for seasons to come.

4 undrafted free agents who could make Chargers 2023 roster

Which undrafted free agents have decent chances to make the Chargers 53-man roster in 2023?

The Chargers added seven new members throughout the 2023 NFL draft. Following the event, they notched an additional 18 undrafted free agents who will all be fighting for a spot.

Los Angeles has had great success in bringing in hidden gems that went undrafted, including legendary tight end Antonio Gates and running back Austin Ekeler.

With that, here are four UDFAs that could see their names on the 53-man roster when the 2023 season rolls around.

Chargers WR Keenan Allen on importance of OTAs: ‘I use it as a lift’

Keenan Allen talked about his mentality at Chargers OTAs.

Wide receiver Keenan Allen is a seasoned veteran at this point of his NFL career but still chooses to participate in the Chargers’ organized team activities to stay sharp ahead of each new season.

One of the team’s unquestioned leaders, Allen talked about the importance of the offseason workouts, emphasizing the benefits he sees from taking part in the annual tradition.

It helps me get into shape I use it as a lift. I get the lift in, get the meetings. Obviously, we have the new coordinator, so I want to know all of the terminology so that I can play fast myself, so that I can help the young guys — when we break the huddle, get them lined up when they need help. Make sure that everybody is on the same page. We need old guys out here, too.

In 2022, Allen missed seven games due to a hamstring issue, finishing with 66 catches for 752 yards and four touchdowns.

The 10-year wideout has been vital to the Bolts’ offense throughout his professional career. During that span, Allen has caught 796 passes for 9,287 yards and 52 touchdowns.

While he is getting up in age, set to be 31 this season and coming off an injury-riddled campaign, Allen is productive when healthy. He is still one of the best route runners in the league. He is a safety blanket on third down.