Chargers’ Herbert on working holiday until training camp

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, center, and teammates watch Austin Ekeler, foreground, run for a pass during practice at the NFL Football Team's Training Center on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Costa Mesa, Calif. (AP Photo/ Jae C. Hong)

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, center, and teammates watch Austin Ekeler, foreground, run for a pass during practice at the NFL Football Team’s Training Center on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Costa Mesa, Calif. (AP Photo/ Jae C. Hong)

PA

Justin Herbert’s summer vacation began Wednesday afternoon when the Los Angeles Chargers ended their offseason schedule.

Even though the Chargers have the next six weeks off before reporting to training camp, Herbert will use that time as a working vacation.

“I think what’s great about football for me is that I need football. I love waking up and going to work and lifting, running, throwing and watching movies,” Herbert said. I think too much free time can sometimes be a burden for me, so I always look forward to things to do.

“I feel bored sometimes without football. Saturdays and Sundays are nice, but at the same time I prefer to play and have something to do because I hate hanging out at home and not doing or accomplishing anything.

While the defense has spent the past two months acclimating new players, Herbert and the offense haven’t had as many challenges. First-round pick Zion Johnson was the unit’s biggest addition this offseason, as he is expected to start at right guard in the season opener Sept. 11 against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Herbert — who threw for 5,014 yards and 38 touchdowns en route to the Pro Bowl last season — said the biggest benefit of offseason practices was being able to drill in seven-on-seven situations, which they didn’t get a chance to make it last year due to COVID-19 restrictions and trying to learn a new offense.

“We discussed many topics. I feel like we’re miles ahead of where we were last year at this point. So it’s up to us to keep improving,” Herbert said.

The fact that the focus was almost entirely on football was perfect for coach Brandon Staley.

After making headlines with their March signings in free agency, the Chargers were mostly under the radar during their offseason program.

It’s great for Staley and company as they hope to grab everyone’s attention late in the season as they try to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2018 after going 9- 8 last season.

Staley was not only pleased with the perfect turnout over the past two days, but also that nearly all of his notable players had been at the resort for at least the past three weeks, with most having been there since the program began on April 18.

“They have the toughest job in the organization. They have the most at stake, so I want our players to always have that energy to come to work and be excited to compete,” Staley said. “We brought in a group of guys who really love to play the ball and love to do all the difficult aspects of football. It was exciting to join this group, that’s for sure.

Linebacker Joey Bosa, who usually didn’t show up until after the mandatory minicamp, was on hand for most of the team’s practices over the past three weeks.

For a defense that added linebackers Khail Mack and Kyle Van Noy, cornerback JC Jackson and defensive linemen Sebastian Joseph-Day, Austin Johnson and Morgan Fox, Bosa felt the need to show up earlier than d ‘habit.

“I was a bit hesitant, but being here it’s great to be with everyone,” Bosa said. “It’s just hard when you’re in a routine across the country to throw yourself out of that and do that flight, but it’s been a great two weeks. Definitely for years to come I’m going to get through this. here a week or two earlier because it’s a good acclimatization period, that’s for sure.”

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