NFL players negotiated for a more gradual “ramp-up” period before starting actual practice this summer.
Just one day into conditioning, the Chargers had to be reminded of that.
Defensive end Joey Bosa explained this week that the team’s first on-field workout included a little too much intensity.
“You could tell everybody was ready because of the tempo we went at,” he said. “It wasn’t so much a walkthrough. Coach had to say, ‘Hey, hey all right. We’re not doing another team period. You guys went a little too fast today.’ ”
Coach Anthony Lynn confirmed that story Wednesday. And then some.
“I had to make some adjustments to practice,” Lynn said in a video conference with reporters. “I also took the cleats off their feet. Everyone’s in basketball shoes now. That’s just to slow us down.”
Coming off a disappointing 5-11 finish, the Chargers are eager to write a new chapter.And they’re off to a quick start, in more ways than one.
Leaguewide, Lynn’s team is one of the few that has had no players opt out and also has not had to use the NFL’s new reserve/COVID-19 list.
Players have until 1 p.m. Thursday to decide to sit out in 2020, and Lynn said no one has talked to him about potentially choosing to step away.
As for avoiding the coronavirus to date, he acknowledged that safety remains a daily priority, while noting that even strict adherence to the guidelines guarantees nothing.
“So far, it’s worked for us,” Lynn said. “Guys are doing what they’re supposed to do and they’re executing the plan. I’ve told them, ‘That protocol plan may be more important than the game plan.’ ”
The Chargers will continue conditioning this week before moving on to more involved workouts. The NFL’s practice schedule prohibits players from being in pads until mid-August.
With all preseason games canceled, Lynn said the Chargers had plans to workout at SoFi Stadium before a scheduling conflict arose. SoFi is the new $5-billion home to the Chargers and Rams.
He said his team probably will reschedule and could potentially conduct a scrimmage at SoFi. Part of the motivation is to allow players and coaches to gain some familiarity with the new stadium.
The Chargers’ first home game is set for Sept. 20 against the Kansas City Chiefs, the reigning Super Bowl champions.
But for now, the Chargers are limited to walkthroughs that focus mostly on teaching. As such, Lynn said it’s still difficult to determine much about his revamped roster.
“If you can’t impress the coach in walkthrough mode, we’re going to get you the hell out of here,” he said. “I think everybody’s been pretty impressive right now.”
Some of the Chargers are staying in a hotel in Irvine, not far from the team’s Costa Mesa training facility. But unlike a traditional summer camp, the players aren’t required to stay there.
Lynn said giving players the option of returning home each day might actually be safer because, in a hotel setting, there is a tendency for the players to congregate.
A video released by NFL Films on Wednesday showed the lengths to which Lynn is attempting to promote social distancing. The video is part of the team’s upcoming involvement in the television show “Hard Knocks.”
He is shown concluding one of the workouts this week by explaining that he’ll be eschewing the normal practice of bringing the team together as one for a final, parting cheer, something players have been doing since pee-wee league.
“When it’s time to practice, we practice,” Lynn said on his video conference. “When we can limit guys’ exposures, that’s what we try to do. If we can do that 22 hours out of the day, then that’s our goal. But those [other] two hours, we gotta practice.”