A new era has begun in earnest for the Chargers, and it's brought with it a new set of responsibilities for Joey Bosa.
The Chargers' star edge rusher enters his sixth training camp looking to improve his already elite skillset while tackling an added objective given to him by first-year coach Brandon Staley: mastering the tasks of an outside linebacker.
"It's not as much the athletic part of it as it's just seeing in the field, understanding the formation, seeing shifts, getting the calls," Bosa said Thursday, per the team's official transcript. "I got to call last year. It was my call. I line up and do what I have to do. Maybe there's a couple of checks here and there. But, there's a lot going on. There's a lot of moving pieces. I think it's great. It's a dynamic defense. A good defense shouldn't be easy to learn in two days, so it's a fun challenge.
"Usually, I'm coming in here and I'm solely focused on how I'm rushing each day, which is another dynamic. I get to judge myself on another level, and it's fun. But yeah, it's just going to take time. Obviously, seeing it live is a lot different than sitting at home and reviewing on my book. I'm going to make a few mistakes here and there, but by the time camp is over, I'm sure it'll be second nature."
Given how accustomed fans have become to seeing Bosa relentlessly rushing quarterbacks, it will likely take some time getting used to seeing him drop back into coverage, regardless of how often Staley and his staff plan for him to do so.
Bosa spent the last four seasons playing in a 4-3 scheme under defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, dominating his way to two All-Pro selections and three Pro Bowl nods as a defensive end. Sounds like a formula not worth tampering with, right?
Chargers fans unsure about the change should find solace knowing that Staley's 3-4 scheme will afford Bosa plenty of the same pass-rushing opportunities. Only now, the 6-foot-5, 280-pound monster will have to get comfortable in a more versatile role.
Bosa's belief in his new coach combined with the defensive-minded Staley's track record of bringing the best out of his players bodes well for both Bosa's chances of a successful transition and the betterment of the defense as camp rages on.
"Coach Staley is going to put me in the best position to succeed," he said. " ... I trust these guys. Down the road, if I'm saying, 'Wow, this isn't working for me,' I'm going to speak up. But I don't really see that coming at all. I think they have a great plan in mind, and right now, I'm just going to try to put my ego aside and do the best I can to be a good team player and learn it the best I can."
Training camp is finally here! Be sure to check out NFL Network's extensive live coverage, including Inside Training Camp every day and highlighted by Training Camp: Back Together Saturday Fueled by Gatorade on July 31.