Bradley’s booming voice reverberated through Murphy Canyon the majority of the practice on Wednesday, coaxing and encouraging players during team drills.
And the players responded, with the defense winning more than their share of matchups during the second practice of the team’s mandatory minicamp.
After four years as a head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bradley has had to make the switch back to defensive coordinator and become more hands-on in his coaching on the field.
“It’s been really good,” Bradley said. “Whenever you’re out for a couple of years, there is a transition. As a head coach you’re watching all three sides of the ball, but now you’re just watching the defense, and all the details of it.
“There was a transition period, but fortunately we have a really good staff, very impressive with a lot of guys with a lot of experience. It wasn’t just the system I brought -- we tried to make it our system. So there are some things that are different that we haven’t done before.”
Bradley said one of the benefits of coming to the Chargers was going against an offense led by Philip Rivers. The North Carolina State product owned the Jaguars during Bradley’s tenure in Jacksonville, completing 68 percent of his passes for 1,182 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and no interceptions in posting a 4-0 record against Jacksonville.
“That week where you prepare for San Diego, you don’t get much [sleep],” Bradley joked. “And then now, it’s every day. But I think that’s part of the reason why it was so intriguing. I knew that when you come into a new situation, to go against an offense like that -- that’s challenging.
“I just believe that everything’s a race to maturity. You’re trying to speed up the process as fast as you can to get your guys ready to go. I just felt like going against this offense and Whiz [Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt] and the entire staff, I think it speeds everything up. That’s what you’re hoping for anyway.”
One thing that’s been encouraging for Bradley has been the defense’s professional approach to improving on the practice field and in the meeting room. And that diligent approach has accelerated the defense’s overall development on the field.
“There’s been many times I’ve been in my office and there are guys still in the building,” Bradley said. “They’re around. They’re studying film on their own -- whatever -- and they’re really into it.
“They really want to be good. You don’t have to talk to them about that. It’s very important to them. Usually, there’s going to be mistakes on the field, but if you make the corrections, you rarely see that mistake repeated, and that’s a good season. Sometimes you have to teach football 101, football 201. But you feel with these guys it’s a little bit higher. They’ve seen a lot of football.”