COSTA MESA, Calif. — There is a lot of excitement about what the Chargers offense will look like under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
How will he utilize receivers, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams? How will we incorporate rookie Quentin Johnston?
Don’t forget about third-year receiver Josh Palmer.
He is quietly having a strong training camp.
“We feel like Josh [Palmer] is an elite player,” head coach Brandon Staley said.
Palmer showed that off on August 1st as a video of him being covered by Asante Samuel Jr. and leaping up to make a ridiculous one-handed catch started making the rounds.
“The route could have been better, but Justin [Herbert] trusts us, so he threw it up and allowed me to make a play on it,” Palmer explained. “He threw it high, and I was able to showcase my talent.”
On August 4th, the Chargers offense was working on their two-minute offense when Palmer ran a slant route that looked similar to how Allen would run it and took the pass an extra 15 yards. It was a great route.
“The way he works, he’s still asking me questions and stuff like that,” Allen explained. “He shows up early to practice, out there working on his routes and getting in and out of his breaks before we even start walkthrough. A guy like Palmer, you know he is going to put in the work.”
His work ethic has never been questioned because Palmer is either at the jug machine, talking to a receiver/coach, or Herbert after camp or regular practices.
He is always working, even in his sleep.
“In the middle of the night, I’ll wake up randomly and want to do a release [laughter],” he explained. “I’m always working on it; I’m always thinking about it. It’s never-ending, I’m addicted to it.”
Since Allen and Williams were hurt at certain times last year, sometimes the responsibility fell on Palmer. That allows him to show his ability and improve his chemistry with Herbert.
“I think where he is very improved is his chemistry with Justin [Herbert], the trust factor,” Staley said. “Justin will wait for him. Justin now knows where he can hit Josh in that sweet spot.”
They have consistently found each other in this training camp. At times, it feels like Herbert could find Allen, Williams, or Palmer blindfolded. That is how much trust he has in them.
“It’s still growing,” he said. “We have a lot of time to grow, but we’ve made major improvements from every season.”
The addition of Johnston was significant for the Chargers because they needed some speed on offense, which is an area of strength of his.
Overall, the feeling might have been that the Chargers wanted Johnston to replace Palmer, which is not the way the third-year receiver took it.
“That’s bound to happen every year,” Palmer said. “Since college, they recruit the best athletes. They’re drafting the best players to help us win games.”
It is a way to enhance the offense and keep getting Herbert weapons with different styles to take advantage of defenses.
“He’s hungry,” Allen said. “He can definitely feel that he knows what’s going on; he doesn’t want to let that diminish what he did last year.”
Palmer is coming off a season where he caught 72 passes for 769 yards and three touchdowns. He made numerous impressive plays, like the touchdown catch against the Kansas City Chiefs or the grab he made against Atlanta to put them in field goal range to win the game.
“We’ve all seen it before,” Williams said. “He’s picking up where he left off and continuing to make plays.”
The Chargers receiving core is viewed as a top five, if healthy, because of all the different weapons it possesses. Palmer is sometimes an afterthought because of all of the weapons Herbert has at his disposal.
He shouldn’t be, though. Palmer might take a big step forward in 2023 because of his chemistry, work ethic, and determination.
“I’m motivated every year; it doesn’t really matter what it is,” Palmer said. “I’m in a never-ending tunnel. That’s the price you pay for wanting to be the best.”
Nuts N’ Bolts
•OLB Joey Bosa didn’t practice due to an illness. LT Rashawn Slater and TE Gerald Everett are still dealing with illness that made them miss Friday’s practice. DL Sebastian Joseph-Day is missing time dealing with a quad injury, and CB JC Jackson is having a recovery day.