Ex-Charger Nick Hardwick sees value in Joey Bosa missing voluntary workouts

SAN DIEGO -- A lot has been made of Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa choosing to work out on his own instead of attending the team’s voluntary workouts.

Some pointed to other players like Philip Rivers, Kellen Clemens and Antonio Gates not in attendance on Tuesday when the start of Phase II was open to reporters on Tuesday as an example of Bosa unfairly being singled out for not attending.

However, for clarity’s sake: Rivers, Clemens and Gates all were in attendance during the first two weeks of voluntary offseason work.

Melvin Ingram also has missed the first three weeks. However, Ingram has been designated the franchise tag by the Chargers and has not signed his tender, so he has not been in attendance because he’s not under contract.

That leaves Bosa, the team’s best defensive player, as the only player under contract who has not regularly attended the team’s offseason program. Head coach Anthony Lynn said he met with Bosa during the first day of offseason work, and his understanding is the Ohio State product is working with his own trainer.

In this audio conversation, former Chargers center Nick Hardwick of Xtra 1360 Fox Sports Radio provides a bit more on the issue. Hardwick says he does not have a problem with Bosa missing voluntary offseason work.

“I have absolutely zero problems with guys not showing up to offseason workouts at the team facility,” Hardwick said. “I find that if guys would do what’s in their best interest to get them at their peak, optimal physical readiness to get ready to compete for the season... if everybody shared that mentality, and then when they showed, they’re were voracious about getting to know one another and spend time together -- being all in and committed -- I think you would get better results than having one strength coach and one assistant strength coach for 85 guys, spending an hour and a half on the field with them four days a week.

“More guys should be doing what Joey is.”

Hardwick said Bosa formed a close bond to former Chargers strength coach Todd Rice, and the two are working together in Florida. Rice helped Bosa rehab from a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the first four games of the regular season last year.

“He was highly scientific and highly qualified,” Hardwick said about Rice. “And he was the one Joey credits for getting back from this hamstring injury that he suffered. And so Joey puts a lot of stock into this guy.”

Rice was let go along with the rest of the strength training staff this offseason, and Lynn hired new strength coach John Lott. Bosa talks about his relationship with Rice here.

“It’s a blessing in disguise that it happened when it did and I met a great guy, Todd Rice,” Bosa told CBS Sports about his hamstring injury last season. “He’s taught me amazing things, how to take care of my body. Him rehabbing me in a short couple of weeks, I felt like I was more ready to play than I had been in my entire life. So by Week 4 rolled around, I was 100 percent confident and ready to go out there and play. I think that had a big thing to do with it.”

I agree with Hardwick -- to a point. Contrary to some reports out there, the Chargers are on the field doing scheme work. And while Bosa won’t have an issue catching up, he is missing out on a chance to bond and develop chemistry with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and the rest of his teammates.

Why can’t Bosa do both? Many players are going through offseason work at the facility at Chargers Park and then getting personalized workouts away from the facility afterwards. Bosa could do the same thing with his guy locally.

Bottom line is this situation isn’t a big deal if Bosa plays at the same level he did last year in 2017. However, if he struggles, the fact that he wasn’t around during offseason work will be brought up.