Bulked-up Joshua Kelley in the running for Chargers’ closely contested backup position

Due to the fact he was drafted, the Chargers altered their coaching staff members and invested picks in two much more functioning backs.

His 3 most effective games stay the first 3 of his NFL career, back in 2020.

Now entering his 3rd period and going through as substantially competition and uncertainty as he ever has, Joshua Kelley arrived at instruction camp in Costa Mesa a adjusted man.

“My entire intention this offseason was to turn out to be the best soccer participant I could quite possibly be,” he reported Thursday. “It wasn’t to rest, to wind down, to do all types of enterprise functions, holiday. It was to develop into the best player I could be for this yr.”

Coming out of UCLA, Kelley’s long term appeared to be on immediate display screen below the former coaching routine of Anthony Lynn.

He carried 43 instances for 167 yards by the initial a few weeks of the 2020 time, serving as a a lot-needed counterpunch to starter Austin Ekeler.

But Kelley misplaced fumbles in back-to-back online games — both equally losses, from Carolina and Tampa Bay — and has been trying to get well considering that.

He reported he devoted himself this spring to enhancing physically, enlisting the enable of Extra time Athletes, a education outfit in Florida advised by previous Chargers teammate Rayshawn Jenkins.

“I evaluated myself,” Kelley claimed. “I seemed at my strengths and weaknesses, and I felt like I could set on some extra muscle, insert some extra explosiveness. I took the system I had seriously and just attacked it.”

Brandon Staley, who took more than after Lynn was fired subsequent the 2020 time, explained Kelley is “much more robust, significantly a lot more compact” in this instruction camp. He praised Kelley for becoming “a far more complete back again.”

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In the Chargers’ preseason opener Saturday at SoFi Stadium against the Rams, Kelley will have an option to showcase his new self as he battles for the No. 2 managing again location.

He’ll be competing from Isaiah Spiller, a fourth-spherical select this calendar year, and Larry Rountree III, a sixth-spherical decide on in 2021.

Rookie Isaiah Spiller (28) is the newest jogging back again drafted who is striving to win the No. 2 work.

(Alex Gallardo / Linked Press)

“These backs … I definitely like the progress of all of them,” Staley explained. “I think the competitiveness is bringing out the greatest in them mainly because it’s a genuine competition.”

Alongside with toughness schooling, Kelley mentioned his offseason plan emphasised diet. He is continue to outlined at 5-foot-11, 212 pounds — same as past calendar year — but Kelley does appear to be additional stout.

“Nutrition was enormous,” he mentioned. “You never get this measurement and this robust with out currently being on prime of your nutrition and your recovery. So, yeah, it was a whole lot of operate.”

Kelley explained that he now feels like a diverse participant on the field. He has broken many remarkable runs in workforce drills, however the Chargers really do not deal with to the floor in training camp.

“I’m just like — boom! — additional explosive, a lot quicker, much better,” Kelley claimed. “It’s a large variance. There is a correlation between the body weight place [to] nutrition to the discipline. It feels great. They bought me correct.”

Staley also mentioned that Kelley has received the rely on of his teammates in move safety, a crucial element to an offense that characteristics a Pro Bowl quarterback in Justin Herbert.

For youthful functioning backs, move safety normally is just one of the most complicated measures in transitioning to the NFL. Kelley said that early on he had to focus simply just on who to block.

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He defined that, now with a larger understanding of the offense and his assignments in it, he has graduated to trying to turn out to be a weapon in pass security.

“I place on some toughness,” Kelley claimed. “I’m not hoping to absorb call. When I’m observing tape, I see a whole lot of fellas just go up there and take up. I’m trying to produce a blow. I assume that is helped me.”

A different place that could considerably effect the backup jogging back again determination is specific teams. Kelley played extra specific groups as a rookie than he did previous period.

One of the lowlights of his 2020 year was a blown assignment that led to a blocked punt and landing for Jacksonville.

Kelley said Ryan Ficken, the Chargers’ new specific teams coordinator, satisfied with him early in the offseason and explained to him he was way too fantastic of a player not to be contributing in that space.

“I agreed with him,” Kelley explained. “I felt like I needed to choose this stage way far more critically, attack it and just go more difficult. … It largely comes down to energy and want-to.”

Kelley figures to be showcased on offense and in the kicking match Saturday, when the Chargers just take their initial key stage in figuring their time-opening roster.

And many others.

Kicker Dustin Hopkins missed practice Thursday since of a loss of life in his household. He was back again on the discipline afterwards in the working day right after rejoining the group. … Staley claimed quarterbacks Chase Daniel and Easton Adhere both will perform versus the Rams. He also claimed Storm Norton and Trey Pipkins III, battling for the starting suitable tackle work, will engage in.

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