Yesterday was the first day of this year´s mini camp where the new guys on the roster get together to build chemistry and learn more about the team philosophy and playing schemes. Altogether there were 40 young guys (including tryouts) on the field at Chargers Park.
There are still a lot of things to watch for in the two remaining mini camp days, e.g. which of the undrafted free agent pick-ups are going to leave a lasting impression on head coach Mike McCoy. I sure hope that some of my favorites, like e.g. nose tackle Kwame Geathers, offensive tackle Nick Becton or defensive back Jahleel Addae will be able to do just that. Obviously the new Chargers´ head man already has his eyes on some of them:
“There are some talented kids out there,” McCoy said. “Not just the drafted players. We have a number of college free agents and then guys who are in here for a workout, and you really never know.”
“We’re going to keep turning this roster before the opener. I’m not going to put a limit on it and say we’re only going to have a certain number of rookies on this football team. We’re going to take the best 53 we can.”
It will also be interesting to watch how Kennan Allen´s knee is doing after those three days of being out there on the field and trying to be at his best. The third round pick said he participated in all drills yesterday; the knee feels great and keeps improving.
And of course, second round pick Manti Te’o has drawn significant attention too (how could it be any different). Coach McCoy said he´s a natural leader, a gym rat and it´s great too see how he loves the game. Te’o also spoke about himself, about his goals and his work ethic.
“Hard work will beat talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” he explained. “I never wanted to be that guy that didn’t work hard. I knew that my work ethic was going to be the thing that was going to pull me through. I’m not the fastest. I’m not the strongest but I’m definitely one to work hard.”
“I’m trying to get stronger any way I can but one of my strengths is in the film room to prepare myself mentally for the game because a lot of this game is played mentally. A little bit is played physically. Your mind tells your body to move and then it moves. I try to get my preparation to that point.”
But Mike McCoy saved his highest praises for the first round pick of this year, the beast from the Southern-East, D.J. Fluker.
“(He) did a heck of a job,” the coach said. “When you see kids that come from Alabama, the way they’ve been coached, he really was the leader out there on offense today. It’s great to see that because we need more guys like that. Very vocal. Very positive to everybody. (He) broke the team down at the end, and I didn’t ask him to. I wanted to see who would step up, and he stepped up without hesitation.”
So it seems, the mountain of a man meant it when he said he wants to be “Ray Lewis of the offensive line”. He already acts that way on the first day of mini camp. Well, I guess that will change a bit when the veterans find their way onto the field. But Fluker also mentioned that, although he wants to be a leader, he first has to earn his place on the starting unit. So, all that concerns I had about him at first, seem to float away the more I get to know his personality and his work ethic. I still have a hard time to understand his words – he has a “very special” way to talk (to say the least) – but if it works within the team, then so what…let him bring that little “dirty south thang” onto the roster.
So let´s hope, day two and three of the Chargers´ mini camp will be revealing and successful too.
Thank you for reading.