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Chargers TE Donald Parham Growing in Year Two

The tight end has been strides in numerous areas.

The Chargers have the ultimate mismatch that was seen as a red zone threat last season when he signed with Los Angeles. He started off with the fourth-string team and made his way up during training camp.

During the season, he made ten catches for 159 yards and three touchdowns. He made strides throughout the year being able to learn how to play in the NFL.

After the season, he met with the media during exit interviews and said that he had to improve his blocking.

"My main focus over the offseason was lower-body strength and making sure my footwork is right," Parham explained. "Making sure that was part of my game that really showed itself on Sundays."

Parham has been able to help this season with blocking while also making some strides in the passing game. He has been asked to help stay in and block.

"I really can't complain about the trust they have in me to be in the run game, also in the pass game," Parham said. "With the tight end role specifically, we have a very big role in this offense."

During training camp this season, it was evident that he had grown as a pass catcher because number 89 was catching anything thrown his way. When it came to blocking, he would have to take on edge rusher Joey Bosa, Uchenna Nwosu, and Kyler Fackrell, which helped him improve.

Even though he was new to the organization offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi took notice of the tight end.

"I'm really proud of him," Lombardi said. "He's a guy that when I got here and looked at him, I thought that he would be a receiving tight end, a guy that you activate in the red zone. As practices went on, his blocking kept coming on. Now, he does a lot of the dirty work for us. He's really a weapon in the passing game."

The Chargers had a young tight end room last season, but they added veteran Jared Cook this year. He came in saying that he wanted to help the younger tight ends and even players on the team.

"He's the father figure, in a sense," Parham said. "He brings a certain wisdom from playing for different teams and playing for so long."

One of the biggest things that stood out last season was quarterback Justin Herbert's trust in him. The young quarterback practiced with the second and third stringers in 2020, so he was familiar with Parham.

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In his second year, he is on a tear, being firmly placed in the MVP discussions.

"He's made big strides," Parham said about his quarterback. "It's insane to see what he's able to do every day. To practice with him, you see he's working hard to put his best foot forward every day. It's amazing to be a part of."

Their connection has grown, especially with Parham having two touchdowns five games into the year. He actually should have three, but there was a 36-yard touchdown nullified by a Cook holding call against the Dallas Cowboys week two.

One of his touchdowns caught the eye of a two-time NBA Champion. Former Golden State Warrior, now Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant, was thought to be hurt before NBA Finals game five against the Toronto Raptors. He was filmed dancing surrounded by his teammates to show he was healthy.

Parham caught a five-yard touchdown to open up the scoring against the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football. The whole country saw Parham do the KD dance. Even Durant saw it and tweeted at the tight end.

"That was a big surprise for me because he didn't 'at' me, but everyone was sending it to me at once," Parham said about Durant's tweet. "It was a great moment in my life, and hopefully, I can keep making more of those."

The Chargers tight end was ready for his moment.

"Every day of that week, I was practicing — in the bathroom, in the shower, everywhere," Parham said. "Just practicing it to make sure that I had it right."

Injury report

It has now been two days in a row that wide receiver Mike Williams hasn't practiced. Wednesday was more of a walk thru, but he still is dealing with a knee injury. He has been red hot to start the year, and this offense needs him.

Also, missing practice was free safety Nasir Adderley and linebacker Drue Tranquill. Nas is dealing with a hip injury and actually was limited on Wednesday but didn't practice on Thursday.

Tranquill got hurt on the final drive of the game, and Staley said it was a pec injury. He has missed two practices, so it will be interesting to see if he is able to play.

This could be Staley giving them time to rest, but Friday's practice will be interesting.