The Chargers continue to push young safety JT Woods to gain more defensive playing time in 2023.
A third-round pick by Baylor last year, Woods has the speed and range the Chargers need to play in the deepest part of their defense. But his approach remains a project.
Woods caught 22 snaps on defense and nine on special teams in the Chargers’ first preseason game against the Rams last weekend.
“I thought that JT … did a really good job commanding the back end and running the show,” said defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley. “Obviously there are things we need to work on – pad levels and things like that – but I was happy with his physicality.”
Woods was used in a variety of packages throughout training camp while the Chargers searched for their best defensive back grouping.
With Alohi Gilman struggling with a bruised knee, Woods was given numerous opportunities while training with the Saints. During Thursday’s session, he had a notable run stop.
A low point for Woods came against the Rams late in the first half when he was handed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that resulted in a touchdown.
“I thought you saw a young player caught in the moment of competition,” Ansley said. “…You just have to know when to step on the brakes…. It was one of those things you learn from and move on from.”