The Bolts are back in the building.
Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley met with reporters Monday as the team began its voluntary offseason program in Costa Mesa.
Here are five takeaways from Staley’s press conference:
1. Day 1 of the offseason program
Brandon Staley must have checked his calendar before stepping to the podium Monday.
“It’s been 93 days since our last ball game, so we’re ready to get started,” the Chargers Head Coach said from Hoag Performance Center on the first day of the team’s voluntary offseason program. “It’s good to see everybody here.
“There’s a different energy when players get back. We’re excited to start doing football,” Staley added.
And even though the 2023 regular season is still roughly five months away, Staley noted the importance of getting players back in the building to begin construction on this year’s version of the Chargers.
“I think you start brand new each and every season. I don’t think that you ever take anything for granted. I think you truly have to build a team each and every year,” Staley said. “I think where that starting point is can be a little bit different, depending on how many people you bring back, but there’s just so much transition in the NFL – whether it’s with players or coaches or staff – you have to reset your team every single year and build it.”
Staley, who is entering his third season as head coach, also noted how much he enjoys this time of the calendar year.
“I think you have a lot better understanding of the calendar, of the rhythm, that you’re trying to create, the teaching progression of everything and truly how to build a football team, and how long of a season it really is, starting from the spring season all the way to your final game,” Staley said. “You have a much better understanding of how to do that, the more you do this.
“As a coach, this is a really special time, that teaching time of the springtime, and being able to build your football team,” Staley added. “Certainly, the draft is coming up next week and you get a bunch of new guys there too, but this is a really great time for coaches.”
Head Coach Staley on Players Returning for Workouts
2. A strong showing
A friendly reminder that this part of the offseason program is voluntary.
In fact, all of it is voluntary except for a mandatory minicamp that will take place over two days in June.
Still, Staley said he was proud of the strong contingent of players who showed up to get some work in Monday morning.
“I’m just proud of our players, proud of the culture that we have on our football team and the leadership of our football team,” Staley said. “Today’s Day 1 of it, but we have a team that I’m really excited to coach.”
And he also understands the voluntary part of the process, too.
“It’s certainly optional, that’s the way that the collective bargaining agreement is right now,” Staley said. “We’re really appreciative of the guys who are here.
“Your players set the culture of your team and we want to create competition in the springtime to improve as a football team,” Staley added. “We’re excited about the guys who are here and we’re looking forward to the next couple of months.”
3. Balancing draft prep
As Staley mentioned above, the 2023 NFL Draft looms next week.
That means Staley, his coaching staff and the entire Chargers front office is in a bit of a juggling act right now.
Staley on Monday commented on his love for the draft and how important it is for him to be invested in it even with members of the current roster in the facility.
“Pour yourself into the draft, pour yourself into the players,” Staley said. “There’s no bigger investment that you make as a club than who you bring into your football team. You have to have as much knowledge of that player as possible and you have to have as many viewpoints as possible.
“I love the draft since I was a little kid. I grew up watching the draft, the Staley Family was watching every pick in the draft from as long as I can remember,” Staley added. “Now, you get a chance to be a part of that selection process. You want to dive into to that process full steam.”
Staley said that with 10 days to go until the first round, his excitement for the annual event is building because of the work the front office has put in.
“We take a lot of pride in the level of detail that we have in this process,” Staley said. “Joining up with our scouting department, which was fantastic, led by you [General Manager] Tom [Telesco], [Director of Player Personnel] JoJo [Wooden], [Director of College Scouting] Kevin Kelly, the scouts, just that teamwork, that aspect of bringing people together and studying these guys, getting to meet these players.
“It’s a tremendous process. Next week is going to be exciting for the Chargers,” Staley added.