Day 1 with Jim Harbaugh, and Chargers' 'physicals' take a whole new meaning

Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Football

LOS ANGELES — The Chargers are still more than five months away from playing the initial game of the Jim Harbaugh era.

But where the team is headed was evidently quite obvious during the first meeting on the first day of the first phase of Harbaugh's first offseason program.

"We're going to be physical," new tight end Hayden Hurst said. "We're going to come right at you. You see us pop up on the schedule, it's going to be a long Sunday."

Hurst signed with the Chargers last month after spending time with Baltimore, Atlanta, Cincinnati and Carolina. He was selected by the Ravens in the first round of the 2018 draft.

During his first two NFL seasons, Hurst played for Harbaugh's brother, John. After spending just one day with Jim, Hurst said the two coaches share "the same sort of ideology" of how to best win games.

"We want to out-physical teams," Hurst said. "We want teams to fear us. We want teams to end up giving up in the fourth quarter where we're just hitting our stride."


Harbaugh has conveyed a similar message since he day he was formally introduced as the Chargers' new coach in early February. He is determined to toughen up a franchise not recognized historically for its physicality.

With that as the goal, Harbaugh brought with him from his previous job at Michigan an assistant named Ben Herbert, the Chargers' new executive director of player performance.

Herbert is expected to play a significant role as the team attempts to fulfill Harbaugh's rougher vision. Tuesday's opening day included baseline testing to determine where each player is starting from physically.

From there, Herbert will begin building on what he calls the "key performance indicators," with a particular focus on the neck, shoulders, hips, hamstrings and ankles.


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