The Chargers certainly have the drive to win the next Super Bowl and many forecasters have predicted they have the talent.
Tyrod Taylor said he thinks this team has something else necessary too, and he should know since he won a championship with Baltimore.
“That team that won the Super Bowl, we weren’t perfect by any means,” Taylor said. “We didn’t sweep or run through the league. We had our ups and downs. But we were able to weather the storm, and I think the right personalities and the right experience at different positions allow you to do that. I think we have that here.”
The Chargers are a mix of accomplished veterans and play-making youngsters. They finished last season one step short of the AFC title game and return with their roster nearly intact.
Like he was with the 2012 Ravens, Taylor will be the Chargers’ backup quarterback, a veteran fallback should something happen to Philip Rivers.
Taylor played sparingly during that 2012 season behind Joe Flacco, the eventual MVP of Super Bowl XLVII.
Taylor turns 30 on Saturday and is entering his ninth season. He spent three years as the starter in Buffalo and began 2018 as the starter in Cleveland. He has been a backup the rest of his time.
He signed with the Chargers during the offseason in part because of his familiarity with coach Anthony Lynn, who also worked in Buffalo.
During his introductory news conference, Taylor said the Chargers’ Super Bowl chances had a role in his decision.
“I stand by that comment,” he said this week. “There is a lot of leadership on this team, a lot of experience on this team and a lot of talent on this team. One of the things that sticks out to me is the unity that you have in the locker room and on the field.
“Of course guys compete, but they also take care of one another. It’s just the camaraderie the guys have on this team. [They] do a great job of competing every day, bringing that level of competitiveness that you need to better yourself but also better your teammates.”
The Chargers have never won a Super Bowl and last season produced the franchise’s first playoff victory since January 2014.
With Rivers still playing at a high level and his career down to its final seasons, the general consensus has the Chargers near the top of the NFL’s best teams entering the season.
“That’s all talk right now,” Taylor said. “It’s training camp. Everyone has the same dream. But the work has to be done, and we’re doing it each and every day to give ourselves a chance to go out there and compete for a Super Bowl.”
Chargers vs. Rams
After six days of going head-to-head, the Chargers took Wednesday off and will welcome the Rams to their Costa Mesa training camp for a joint practice Thursday.
“You get some fresh meat in here and some competition and it’s just good for morale,” Lynn said. “And if you’ve got good morale, you usually get good production.”
The teams will practice together again Saturday at the Rams’ camp in Irvine. The Chargers will have joint practices with the New Orleans Saints in Costa Mesa on Aug. 15-16.
That means they’ll have the opportunity to scrimmage four times against the NFC’s two best teams from last season.
“They’re 10 minutes down the road and I just feel like there’s no reason two talented teams can’t get together and help one another out and get better,” Lynn said of the Rams. “You’re bringing in competition, new bodies, new faces. That always brings a little more energy.”
Two years ago, the Chargers and Rams had a joint practice that resulted in a skirmish as tempers flared. Wide receiver Keenan Allen and Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman were two of the notable combatants.
“We’re going to talk to these guys, but they understand,” Lynn said. “We’re all in the same fraternity. We’re here to help one another, protect each other and get some work done.”
Said center Mike Pouncey: “We’re excited to go against these guys. This is the time for us to get better. I think our football team … is going to take advantage of these days and try to build the team that we had last year.”
Tevi in line
One of the players who will be affected by the absence of left tackle Russell Okung is Sam Tevi.
Entering his third season, Tevi was forced into a starting job last year when Joe Barksdale was injured in the season opener. Tevi ended up making 14 starts at right tackle and, when Okung was out for Week 5, one at left tackle.
So far in training camp, Tevi and Trent Scott have received most of the reps with the first team, flip-flopping between the left and right sides.
Okung suffered a pulmonary embolism in June and will be sidelined for an unspecified amount of time
“He’s one of my boys,” Tevi said. “He’s helped me ever since I’ve been here.… To hear what happened to him, it’s devastating. But he knows we have his back. We’re all behind him.”