Below are three takeaways from podium sessions on the ninth day of Chargers Training Camp:
Rookie mentorship at training camp
With one week until the Chargers preseason opener at SoFi Stadium, the pads were put back on for the team’s ninth practice of training camp. Full pads back on meant the Bolts cranked up the intensity and physicality Saturday during the 1-on-1, 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 portions of practice.
After practice, a pair of Chargers rookies — first-rounder Zion Johnson and fourth-rounder Isaiah Spiller — spoke to the media about how their first training camp in the NFL has gone so far.
“I’ve been learning a lot,” Johnson said. “My goal has been to get better every day. I feel like I’ve done that. It’s been good to build chemistry with the other offensive linemen, with our quarterback, with all of the other guys on the offense. I just love to get better every single day.”
The rookie guard’s performance at camp has caught the attention of the Bolts coaches and veteran offensive linemen. Center Corey Linsley, fellow guard Matt Feiler and left tackle Rashawn Slater all have complemented Johnson’s abilities during their respective times at the podium at camp.
Johnson talked about the type of mentor Linsley has been and how beneficial it has been to have the guidance of Linsley and his fellow lineman.
“He’s been very valuable,” Johnson said. “He’s played a lot of football at a high level and he’s a guy that I can bounce things off of, ask questions, and he helps me become a better player. Him, along with Matt and Rasawn, and even [tackle] Storm [Norton] and [tackle] Trey [Pipkins III], all of those guys have had some experience playing at a high level. They’ve helped me a lot.”
As for the compliments he’s received from the established veteran linemen, Johnson explained the confidence boost it has given him as he prepares to start at right guard for the Bolts this season. Slater, who started in the Pro Bowl after his rookie season, is another fellow linemen that has given Johnson advice about preparing to start as a rookie.
“He’s talked to me a lot about game day, just the feelings, the emotions, the hype behind it,” Johnson said of the advice he’s received from Slater. “He’s another person I talk to and helps me. He gives me little tips and things to stay calm, to really focus on my job. He’s just a great resource for me.”
Spiller, who’s currently competing for the second spot on the running back depth chart, explained how starting running back Austin Ekeler has been a “big help” since he joined the team. Despite the fierce competition at running back for reps behind Ekeler, Spiller talked about getting help from the entire running back room.
Austin, JK [RB Joshua Kelley], [RB] Larry [Rountree III], all of those guys who have been here before me,” Spiller said. “Just soaking it up, being the sponge, listen to what they have to say. It’s been great.”