The most significant move the Chargers made in the offseason was signing center Corey Linsley to the richest deal for a center in NFL history. The team's brass knew they needed an anchor upfront who knows the game and defensive schemes like their quarterback.
Linsley has only been a member of the Chargers since March but has quickly adapted to Los Angeles.
"The transition has been a lot smoother than I could have anticipated. I'm very fortunate for that," explained Linsley. "Obviously, it's beautiful out here. It's great weather and great living, so my wife and my son are very excited to move out here."
As far as football, it also seems like a smooth transition.
"There are a lot of similarities, which helped with the transition," explained Linsley. "Coach Staley spent a lot of time coaching against Green Bay, and even with some of the same coaches that [Packers Head] Coach [Matt] LaFleur was with."
The veteran center came in for a couple of practices during OTAs. He noticed that the team was in shirts and shorts without helmets, which is rare looking around the rest of the league.
"Coach Staley's compromise and ability to come to the table and listen to the players and what they want — and we're still getting great work, I still feel like I'm learning the offense and jelling with the O-linemen — we're getting great work in without putting the players at risk," said Linsley. "It's been great, for sure."
The conversation throughout the offseason was what kind of playbook Staley and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi would put together. It has been a mix of New Orleans, Green Bay, and San Francisco, along with some plays the players felt comfortable with from 2020.
Staley said, after signing Linsley, that he wanted the veteran center to be his commander, which he feels is the job of every center.
"I've learned so much from Aaron (Rodgers)," said Linsley. "Even when I first came in the lead from Josh (Sitton) and TJ Lang, those guys. I've been really fortunate to be around some phenomenal football players and extremely intelligent people. I've tried to learn as much as I can from all those guys and implement it into my game."
He now wants to pass it along. Linsley is going from snapping the ball from Aaron Rodgers to now Justin Herbert. He is a second-year quarterback who will learn his sixth different system in six seasons going back to college.
Both center and quarterback are learning this system together while getting their communication down.
"If I can offer some sort of recollection from an issue that we had in the game and issue that we had in practice and say like, 'Hey, this is how we adjusted to it,'" explained Linsley. "We've already had some of those instances so far. From when I was here earlier and to right now, it seems like he's picking it up really, really fast. We're communicating at a high level right now."
Linsley is also coming into a team with a brand-new offensive line. They will need to build their chemistry and learn from each other.
"Great group of dudes, man," said Linsley. "The room is awesome. I know [T] Bryan [Bulaga]. I knew what I was getting there. He's a great dude. Everybody else, we've been jelling pretty good so far. Hoping to take that into camp and keep this thing rolling."
The offensive line won't get it right away. It will take time, primarily because of the different kinds of players they have as projected starters. They have rookie Rashawn Slater as the only inexperienced professional, while the rest have played numerous years in the league.
If they are to be a smooth-running machine, they will need to be on the same page.
"A lot of it is through communication, both on the field and off the field," explained the veteran center. "When we were running through individual drills today, we had a few combination blocks with Oday (Aboushi) and Matt (Fieler), and I'm asking them, 'hey, was that the kind of look that you wanted?' Matt responded with 'Yeah, yeah, for sure.'"
Linsley expects that their communication to get better as training camp begins. This offense will depend on how good the offensive line can be this season.
The veteran offensive lineman also knows another way to try and get the communication and comradery built off the field.
"Food," said Linsley right away. "I'm sure we'll get to o-line dinners. O-line dinners were a hell of a time up in Green Bay. I'm sure they're going to be the same way here. I'm sure that the same way on every team. It's a time for kickback, relax, have a few beverages. It's a good deal."