COSTA MESA — Joey Bosa, one of the NFL’s best edge rushers, didn’t think it was possible for him to learn new tricks as a sixth-year veteran with many accolades.
But Bosa had extra work this offseason to learn Chargers coach Brandon Staley’s complicated defensive scheme.
“I’m enjoying the challenge,” Bosa said Thursday after the second practice of training camp. “It’s added another level to my game, I think, which is fun. It’s a fun challenge going into Year 6; teaching an old dog new tricks. I didn’t think it was possible, but I guess it is.”
Bosa referred to the challenge as the hardest scheme to grasp in his career. Staley’s scheme relies on disguises and different formations and shifts, and occasionally requires its edge rushers to drop back in coverage.
“There’s a lot going on,” Bosa said. “There’s a lot of moving pieces. And I think it’s great. I mean, it’s a dynamic defense. A good defense shouldn’t be easy to learn in two days.”
Bosa said he was used to focusing heavily on his pass-rushing skills, but has embraced the extra assignments Staley, defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill and outside linebackers coach Jay Rodgers require of him.
It wasn’t hard for Bosa to accept the changes because he’s noticed the success the defensive scheme has had with other teams. Staley turned the Rams into the top-ranked defense last season as their defensive coordinator.
Staley has also had success as an outside linebackers coach with the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos. In the past three seasons, Staley has coached the Rams’ Aaron Donald, Denver’s Von Miller and Chicago’s Khalil Mack, three of the best pass rushers in the league.
Bosa said he trusts Staley and his coaching staff to put him in the best positions. He doesn’t expect to drop back often and cover speedy wideouts like the Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill.
“I’m comfortable,” Bosa said about practicing in the new scheme. “I trained a lot in it this offseason and I’m going to work different variations of it and see what I like best.
“When it’s time to make money, I’m going to have my hand in the dirt and I’m going to be flying off the ball.”
Bosa said the coaches told him to speak up if he doesn’t like certain elements of the scheme, but the star edge rusher has been content so far.
“Over time, our relationship is just going to get stronger and stronger,” Bosa said.
— Gilbert Manzano (@GManzano24) July 29, 2021
Bosa received a boost from rookie edge rusher Chris Rumph II while learning the new playbook.
“I really like Chris, not many rookies come in with that kind of energy and competence,” Bosa said. “And the first day he was spitting out the plays, I was like, ‘Shoot.’ He actually motivated me to want to study more and get to know my stuff. I was like, ‘Dang, not gonna let this rookie frickin’ outshine me.’”
Bosa said Rumph has also pushed him on the field with his constant trash talking.
Bosa will need the fourth-round pick from Duke to continue his rapid development during the season because the defensive line might be thin after the departure of Melvin Ingram, who recently signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
LINSLEY UNDER THE WEATHER
Center Corey Linsley didn’t participate in team drills Thursday because he wasn’t feeling well, according to offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.
“He might have been a little under the weather, nothing big,” Lombardi said. “I think he’s fine. But we just let him take a break today.”
Linsley stretched with teammates and participated in individual drills. Scott Quessenberry filled in for Linsley during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. Linsley left the Green Bay Packers to join the Chargers in free agency.
OTHER CAMP NOTES …
Quarterback Justin Herbert and tight end Jared Cook have connected often during the first two days of training camp, including a touchdown pass that went more than 50 yards Thursday. …
Rookie defensive back Mark Webb had the first of two interceptions for the defense Thursday after he jumped a pass from backup quarterback Easton Stick during 7-on-7 drills. Cornerback Brandon Facyson had the other interception when he caught a tipped pass from Herbert to start 11-on-11 competition. …
Facyson managed to force wide receiver Keenan Allen out of bounds on a deep pass from Herbert near the right sideline. Staley shouted praise at Facyson and had friendly trash talk with Allen. Facyson has been the second starting outside cornerback whenever Chris Harris Jr. moves to the slot. …
Running back Justin Jackson returned to practice two days after being placed on the COVID-19 reserve list. He was mixed in with the first-team offense often. …
Newcomer cornerback and special-teams ace Ryan Smith didn’t participate in practice. …
Jackson, safety Nasir Adderley, wide receivers K.J. Hill, Tyron Johnson, Jalen Guyton and Michael Bandy all saw reps at kick returner.