Joey Bosa explains why Derwin James shouldn’t be on field

Two years ago, Joey Bosa agreed to his contract extension the day the veterans reported to Chargers training camp.

Now he watches as teammate Derwin James Jr.’s situation remains unclear two days into practice.

James was back on the field Thursday in Costa Mesa but did not participate in drills.

“I think he’s doing the right thing,” Bosa said. “He obviously deserves whatever he’s going to get. He gives 100% every day. He’s making the best decision for him right now.

“But the fact that he’s out here coaching the lads, fully involved, 100% every day, obviously means a lot to all of us. I’m sure the coaches see that and appreciate it a lot.”

Looking for an extension, James is expected to make just over $9 million in the option year of the rookie deal he signed after the Chargers drafted him 17th overall in 2018.

Coach Brandon Staley said Wednesday James will not train until the issue is resolved. Staley sounded optimistic that an agreement could be reached soon.

Also in 2020, not quite six weeks after Bosa secured his extension, wide receiver Keenan Allen agreed to a new deal.

“I’m pretty sure they’re going to get that sorted out,” Allen said of the negotiations between the Chargers and James’ representatives. “This is a guy we definitely need. He’s the heart of the defence, the heart of the team pretty much.”

Chargers safety Derwin James Jr. right, applauds alongside Nasir Adderley during training camp.

Derwin James Jr. will not train during camp until he receives a contract extension, but he has been coaching from the sidelines, upstairs alongside Nasir Adderley, 24, the safety of fellow Chargers.

(Ringo HW Chiu/Associated Press)

Mack truck

It’s early but veteran edge rusher Khalil Mack has been looking good in his new surroundings.

After a foot injury that limited him to seven games in 2021, Mack was quick and disruptive in 11-on-11 practices.

He and Bosa are expected to give the Chargers a dynamic punch in their passing frenzy.

Bosa predicted that he and Mack will “definitely have a close bond by the end of this year. We’re kind of all together to talk about football all the time.

After Thursday’s on-field session, Bosa said he and Mack planned to study the tape of Bosa’s younger brother, Nick, who is an edge rusher for San Francisco. Bosa said the pair plan to regularly break down other pass rushers and look for any techniques or moves they could use.

Because Bosa and Mack use different styles to get to opposing quarterbacks, Bosa said both games could expand this season.

“I think sometimes those are the best people to learn from because it’s such a different feeling,” Bosa said. “You see things you don’t see. They use techniques you may never have learned or used before.”

The defense dominates

For the second day in a row, defense had a distinct advantage over offense throughout practice sessions. Cornerback Michael Davis, linebacker Damon Lloyd and safety Alohi Gilman made notable plays.

“It was tough,” Allen said. “They kicked us [tail] today, that’s good. Hopefully we can just keep building on that.”

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco overhauled his defense in the offseason, trading for Mack, spending up to $126 million on free hand and drafting four players.

It’s not uncommon for defense to be ahead of offenses this early in the camp, as offenses typically rely more on timing and precision.

Quarterback Justin Herbert struggled to find many open receivers, even during seven-a-side practice. He often held the ball for what would likely have been cover sacks.

Finish fourth

During his rookie season as NFL head coach, Staley drew immense attention for his fourth-season decisions. The Chargers have gone fourth 34 times. Only Detroit and Chicago had more attempts.

They hit 22 times and led the league. The success rate of the chargers of 64.7% ranked fourth overall.

With the start of a new season, Staley said his philosophy of being aggressive in such situations hasn’t changed. But he also said that doesn’t necessarily ensure the Chargers are among the leaders again when it comes to fourth-place play.

“We have a brand new team,” he said. “So to say we’re going to do it the same way we did last year, that’s not going to be the case.”

One factor that could affect Staley’s decisions is improved defense. The Chargers have struggled for much of 2021, particularly hitting third down stops.

If that defense proves more reliable, Staley may have a tendency to lean more in that direction at times.

On the other hand, with Herbert, Staley seems comfortable keeping the ball in the hands of his Pro Bowl quarterback.

“All of these decisions are about the feel,” Staley said. “It’s about mentality. And then there’s the math, which is also part of it. But it’s more mindset than math. I can assure you of that. This is how we want to play as a team.”

practice observations

  • After Kenneth Murray Jr. was out (ankle surgery), Kyle Van Noy played at center back, which he did when Murray was unavailable during the offseason program. Van Noy can also play on the edge.
  • Larry Rountree III received more premium snaps on Thursday after they went mostly to Joshua Kelley on Wednesday. The two battle rookie Isaiah Spiller for second running back spot.
  • One of the few positive plays on the offensive line came when Herbert hit Donald Parham Jr. on the seam for a touchdown in a seven-on-seven. Joey Bosa explains why Derwin James shouldn’t be on field

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