Former Huskies defensive lineman Kendall Reyes, the Chargers' second-round pick in last month's NFL Draft, has just completed his first minicamp with about 50 other players. Reyes, and the team's first-rounder, linebacker Melvin Ingram, will be counted on to shore up a pretty bad San Diego defense from a season ago. And while they've had three days worth of work under their belt with their new employer, Reyes is looking forward to working with his new veteran teammates.
“It's definitely going to be exciting,” Reyes said according to the San Diego Union-Tribune's Michael Gehlken. “All these guys, they're pros. They've been here for a long time. They definitely know what they're doing. Anything I can learn from them is great.”
Head coach Norv Turner, who many thought would be fired after the Chargers' disappointing 2011 season, is also expecting big things from Ingram and Reyes. "They're two young, very athletic guys who are going to be very physical players," he said. "When you get to see them move around and the things they can do, it's exciting to me."
According to Football Outsiders' advanced metrics, the Chargers ranked 29th in total defense last season (31st against the pass, 22nd against the run), and the addition of Ingram and Reyes should help in both instances. More on Reyes' first practice via Tony Cagala of TheCoastNews.com:
Reyes said that the pace of practice was pretty good, but added that the only thing that gets you in football shape is football.
Coming from the University of Connecticut, Reyes said he feels like he’s starting over in the game, saying that he’s looking to earn his keep and do what he can to help the team win.
In the wake of Junior Seau's tragic death, Reyes was also asked about any concerns about long-term health issues. “If you play hard and play…with technique the chances for injury goes down a lot," he said.