COSTA MESA—Enthusiastic Los Angeles Charger fans had a ‘Bolt’ of lightning descend on “Back Together Saturday”, as thousands of fans draped in blue and yellow jerseys and hats celebrated at Jack Hammet Sports Complex on Saturday, July 30 in Costa Mesa to kick off the NFL season.

The Los Angeles Chargers opened up their training camp to a packed crowd of screaming fans clinging to the fence wishing for an autograph or picture with either All-Pro quarterback Justin Herbert or wide receiver Keenan Allen. The atmosphere was similar to a Summer block party. The music was blaring from the speakers and fan giveaways for the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Chargers in 2022.

Hope springs eternal, and for this talented group it is more than hope. This may be the most skilled group of gridiron warriors to ever wear the blue and yellow. Both sides of the ball seems ready to capture what many consider the league’s premiere division in the tough AFC West and reach the playoffs.

While the fans reunited with one another in the bleachers exchanging pleasantries and Super Bowl dreams, eager children clapped their thunder sticks as the Chargers provided plenty of action on the field.

Finishing last season with a record of 9-8 and just missing the playoffs, the Los Angeles Chargers are poised to turn past heartbreak into success. With QB Justin Herbert emerging as a superstar under the center and with weapons at his disposal like Austin Ekeler and Mike Williams, the Chargers had a top five offense in 2021 averaging 28 points per game.

New Los Angeles Charger linebacker Khalil Mack winds down after practice on Saturday, July 30.

The biggest improvement is the defense. The Chargers think tank decided it would have to improve in order to take that next step. This off-season, the Chargers added cornerback J.C. Jackson and All pro linebacker Khalil Mack.

Mack and defensive end Joey Bosa will make an incredible duo on the ends of the defensive line. They both have made a career of wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks.

“It’s eye opening,” said Charger’s tackle Rashawn Slater about Khalil Mack and his pass rushing ability. “It just goes to show you I thought I had seen it all last year but there’s a lot more for me to learn and I’m going to get a lot better going against Mack.”

Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams spoke to Canyon News about his greatest attribute as a wide receiver.

“It’s my strength which I feel helps give me separation,” said Williams. When Canyon News told Mr. Williams that they had noticed the strength and improvement in his last season he replied, ” thanks for noticing”. This drew laughter from the assembled media.

Chargers defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill believes the combination of rookies and free agent veterans will create some urgency on the defensive end. “I believe every snap counts, but that snap will get taken away from you if you’re not urgent and keep repeating the same mistakes.”

The Los Angeles Chargers put on the pads starting Monday. Their training camp runs through August 18. Their season begins on Sunday, September 11, as the Los Angeles Chargers seek revenge on the Las Vegas Raiders for knocking them out of the playoffs last season. The game will be played at SoFi Stadium.

(PHOTO: Michael C. Floch)