Los Angeles Chargers WR Dishes on Stark Coaching Contrast in 2024: “Blaring” Difference that “You Can’t Miss”

Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

After Tuesday’s organized team activities practice, Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Josh Palmer took to the podium to take questions from the media. Early on in the press conference, he was asked what was the main difference between this year’s offseason and previous ones under other coaching staffs. His answer was as simple as it was meaningful;

Los Angeles Chargers New Detail-Oriented Approach

“I tell you, the biggest difference is there’s a large emphasis on the details,” Palmer told the scrum, “An EXTREME emphasis on the details. More than any team I’ve been a part of, from college to high school to anything. It’s the most detailed oriented emphasis I’ve ever been a part of. So I would say that’s the biggest difference. It’s blaring, that you can’t miss it if you’re in the building with us.”

He was then asked about specific examples the coaches work on with receivers;

“If you’re supposed to get right ‘here’ get right ‘here.’ Palmer responded, “Everything else we will coach up but if it says get 10 yards don’t get 11 don’t get nine.”

NFL: New York Giants at Los Angeles Chargers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

And does Palmer like this approach? He does!

“Because then it’s cutt and dry,” Palmer answer, “There’s no room for ‘Uh he kind of got there’ or ‘he kind of didn’t’ or ‘the ball’s here but it could have been here.’ It’s ‘did you get 10 or no’ if you didn’t then it’s ‘you’re wrong.’ So yeah it makes it a lot easier because I know I better get 10. There’s no room to get nine. There’s no room to get11. I know Justin is going to throw it at 10.”

“No room for freelancing.”

Jim Harbaugh‘s Consistency is Consistent

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers OTA
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This isn’t just within the wide receivers’ practices. Palmer’s account is consistent with other stops Jim Harbaugh has made as a coach. Almost a decade ago a Michigan fullback, Joe Kerridge, gave nearly the same review of Harbaugh’s practices.

“He’ll stop what we’re doing in drills just to fix the most minute things,” Kerridge said. “(During one) walkthrough, all of a sudden we just stopped to work on hand placement on the ball. He’s just so detail-oriented.”

In contrast to the Staley-Approach

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at New York Jets
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Reports from The Athletic’s Daniel Popper detailed Brandon Staley’s approach to installing his system. It was equally detail-oriented, but perhaps with emphasis on the wrong details. From Mr. Poppers December 15th article on the subject;

“Often, the scheme and plans were too layered and complex for the players to grasp and execute consistently. Players detailed how Staley and his defensive staff would try to build in answers and rules for every minute facet of opposing offenses — every route, every motion. At times, players said, this bogged down the unit as a whole.”

Those two accounts of different approaches to being ‘detail-oriented’ highlight what Palmer said toward the beginning of his answer. Josh Palmer said this year the rules made things, “cut and dry.” Whereas Staley’s attention to detail “bogged down the unit.”

Harbaugh focuses on drilling down on basic skills and clear indisputable results, rather than focusing on adding to the mental and physical workload.