SAN DIEGO -- It’s never too early for players to start focusing on the team’s first regular-season game.
That started on Monday for the San Diego Chargers in their first official day of organized team activities, or OTAs.
Toward the end of practice, head coach Mike McCoy had the Kansas City Chiefs' rallying cry, “Tomahawk Chop”, playing during 11-on-11 team drills. The Chargers open up the regular season on the road in Kansas City against their AFC West rival.
Of course, the Chargers finished winless against the AFC West last season, so it’s fitting that that San Diego is already focusing on the Sept. 11 season opener more than three months before the big game.
“We understand the task at hand the opening week,” McCoy said. “Going into Kansas City, going to Arrowhead -- the noise, the history -- their fans and what they do week in and week out speaks for itself.
“We know that. The great thing is our quarterback has played there a number of times. And it was just kind of an introduction to everybody of what we’re going to face going into that opener.”
But is it too early to start thinking about the Chiefs?
“We’re going to Kansas City Week 1 and it’s going to be loud, so you might as well start to get ready for it now,” said cornerback Brandon Flowers, who played his first six seasons in the NFL with the Chiefs. “When I heard it, that’s what I’ve been knowing for years and years. But it’s great that we’re starting it now, getting the offensive guys that haven’t played in Kansas City used to it now.”
Some tidbits from practice:
Running back Melvin Gordon participated in individual drills but was held out of 7-on-7 and team drills as the Wisconsin product continues to rehab from microfracture knee surgery he underwent in January to repair torn cartilage.
Receiver Keenan Allen looked like his old self, making several contested catches as he got his first action since suffering a lacerated kidney in a Week 8 contest against the Baltimore Ravens that ended his 2015 season.
Tight end Antonio Gates and rookie fullback Chris Swain were not in attendance. Players who did not practice on Monday include center Chris Watt, center Trevor Robinson, center Max Tuerk, defensive tackle Corey Liuget, cornerback Steve Williams, cornerback Terrell Chestnut and linebacker Shaq Petteway.
New addition Zach Mettenberger is wearing No. 4. He threw an interception to cornerback Richard Crawford on an in route intended for Isaiah Burse early on, but eventually settled in and competed some nice throws down the field.
With Liuget unavailable, Darius Philon worked at defensive tackle with the first unit, while Kyle Emanuel also worked with the first group at outside linebacker instead of Jeremiah Attaochu. Emanuel looks like he’s put on a few pounds of muscle.
Joey Bosa was solid but not spectacular in his first OTA practice. You can tell he’s still learning the position. Most importantly, he made it through Monday’s practice injury free.