Chargers Training Camp Report: Versatility Is The Name of the Game For The Secondary
We’re finally back in football times! There’s action, fans, and August first marked the first day of training camp with pads. The theme of Chargers training camp so far has been a dominant secondary, and most days it’s the star of every press conference.
While rookies are trying to make the squad and veterans are trying to stake claim to their positions, let’s look at some of the secondary shifts and role expansions that are definitely matching up with Brandon Staley’s vision of having a deep defensive unit this year.
Mark Webb‘s Versatility Proving To Be Very Valuable
Brandon Staley during his press conference on day three couldn’t say enough good things about Mark Webb. “He’s got a lot of versatility,” Staley said. “He can play safety, Star (slot defender), Money (hybrid linebacker-safety). He played the Star at Georgia. Really excited about his progress.”
He’s a little lighter at 207 than Derwin James at 215 and a little shorter, but it would be great to have a hybrid replacement for Derwin when he’s not able to be out there, or even for others on the secondary at different points in the season as players get more run down. Webb didn’t have a huge impact last season due to his injury but that may change if he really becomes an asset in a wide range of positions.
*Editor’s note: Webb has missed the last few practices with an undisclosed injury.*
Nasir Adderley Showing Up As A Leader
Nasir Adderley’s leadership has really shown up so far in training camp. Renaldo Hill said during his press conference on day four that Adderley was becoming more of a quarterback in his position as he’s been the main signal caller with Derwin not out there. Adderley doesn’t seem to think his role has changed, given that he’s often providing the signals if James is near the line of scrimmage, but it’s a good sign for Adderley if there’s an increased reliance on him, as with so many new additions, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.
Adderley’s stats did go up quite a bit last year as his combined solo and assisted tackles went from 69 in 2020 to 99 in 2021. His yards after catch have gone up as well and his speed was highlighted by Hill.
Reeder said on day six of his former teammate at Delaware that he’s “one of the hardest working dudes I’ve been around.” Even though we definitely want James back as soon as possible, with ringing endorsements from Reeder and Hill, it’s good to know that in James’ absence, there’s another veteran presence back there to keep everything running smoothly.
Ja’Sir Taylor Making Waves
Ja’Sir Taylor (aka Ja) has been making quite an impression on the Chargers coaching staff in his first training camp. The Athletic remarked that Taylor “who can play both outside and inside but has played predominantly inside in the slot so far in camp” could make the roster given his performance so far at camp.
His name has come up often in the last few days for breaking up passes and adapting quickly. Hill during his press conference remarked that they are using Taylor right now for the inside but said of him and Deane Leonard, “We wanted them to have their comfort zones or where they played in the past, so a lot of them will play fast and early in the camp, and then we can adjust the reps as we go.”
Based on that statement, it’s possible that Taylor could see some action on the outside at some point. For now, he’s likely looking at becoming the primary backup to Bryce Callahan in the slot.