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Los Angeles Chargers Minicamp Day 6: It’s All About the Fundamentals

Image: Jake Piccuito

The Los Angeles Chargers just wrapped up their 6th day of training camp. Brandon Staley had the team focused on fundamentals today. The team practiced in helmets only. This training camp has uncovered some hidden gems and has shown the immense growth the team has accomplished on both sides of the ball.

The Chargers Offense has Hidden Gems

With Kellen Moore calling the plays, the Chargers’ offense has seen a new sense of energy and poise that hasn’t been seen in a while. Justin Herbert has also shown significant growth and veteran tendencies in this camp. Herbert’s development and Moore’s play-calling could create the perfect storm for the Chargers to achieve their desired playoff success.

At last year’s camp, I highlighted the talent and potential of Michael Bandy; this year, I see the same in John Hightower. Hightower has showcased his quickness, elusiveness, and ability to make defenders miss in tight quarters. Though he is undersized, Hightower has made the most of his opportunity. I believe Hightower is worthy of a roster spot and deserves to show what he is made of. Health has been a significant obstacle for this team recently. Having Hightower as a depth option could be an excellent weapon for the Chargers as they push for playoff success.

The Chargers also might have found a great blocking tight end in Hunter Kampmoyer. Adding a blocking tight end could further elevate their run game as the offensive line starts to come together. Last year the Chargers only rushed for 1,524 yards, ranked as the third least by any NFL team. Teaming up with an elite running back like Austin Ekeler could make the Chargers’ run game as dangerous as their passing game.

Is the Chargers’ Defense legit?

I hate to say it, and I know I said it last year, but the Chargers’ defense could be the best all-around in the NFL. Last year’s injuries held them back. Injuries to key players such as Joey Bosa and J.C. Jackson left the rest of the unit to pick up the slack. Khalil Mack and Bryce Callahan did their best, but it wasn’t enough. The unit held together, but the struggles on offense put too much pressure on the defense.

This year seems to be a different story. The unit is working well together. With the addition of Eric Kendricks, Kenneth Murray looks to be settling down in the middle of the field and seems primed for a solid bounce-back season. The Chargers also sparked a position battle that has paid significant dividends. The play of Asante Samuel Jr. and Ja’Sir Taylor has been extraordinary to watch. Both have played up against the Chargers taller receivers. Though a tough decision lies ahead for the Chargers, no matter who they choose they will have an ace in the whole if one can not perform.

As always, barring any major injuries, this team is stacked on paper and should have no problem being a top-10 defense. I believe this is the year we see the Chargers’ defense reach its full potential. I do not believe that the offense will have issues like they did last year. Meaning the defense shouldn’t constantly be on the field and have to bail the offense out. They might have to do it a few times, which shouldn’t be too hard to do given the talent they have.

What to Keep an Eye On

As camp starts to wind down and competition begins to ramp up, I am interested to see how the Chargers utilize John Hightower. Hightower has taken reps at kick return and gunner, both take advantage of his speed and elusiveness. Speed is always a good weapon, especially when a season gets into December and January.

Kenneth Murray has also had an interesting camp. As I have mentioned in my other articles on the Chargers training camp, the addition of Eric Kendricks has settled down Murray and he doesn’t seem to be trying to do too much. Murray has a more defined role and has a player next to him that can match his intensity and athleticism. Kendricks also brings a little more experience to this defense. The two should make for a solid linebacker duo.

I look forward to keeping you all posted 
on the day-to-day for Chargers Minicamp. 
Keep checking backsportspage.com for
more sports articles and go to 
this link to keep up with my 
coverage during Chargers Minicamp.
Also, please follow me 
@PiccuitoSpace on Twitter,
@therealjp_photography on IG,
and @Jake_Piccuito on Facebook!
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All photos were taken by me!
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