SAN DIEGO — With the team reaching Day 25 since rookies had to report and first-round pick Joey Bosa still unsigned, the San Diego Chargers are preparing for the regular season as if the Ohio State product will not be available for the season opener on the road against the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs.
“I just love his energy,” McCoy said of Philon. “He comes to practice every day. He works hard. He loves to play the game.”
After a productive 2014 season, Palepoi missed all of the 2015 season after suffering a fractured foot during training camp. The Utah product said he dropped 35 pounds, and at 6-foot-1, he will play at 280 pounds this season.
“Philon has been doing a good job stepping in,” Palepoi said. “And just the depth that we have on the defensive line is the big contribution this year. We feel like we’re deep at every single position, so I think we’re in good hands right now.”
Palepoi said that even though he’s lighter than his college weight, he has maintained enough strength and explosion to take the constant pounding as an interior defensive lineman.
“He’s very quick,” McCoy said of Palepoi. “He’s coming off the ball. He’s lighter. He’s worked extremely hard. Give him a lot of credit: That was tough injury last year early on, and what he went through and how hard he worked. But he’s been the same way. He hasn’t skipped a beat.”
Bennett has been kicked out of practice by Carroll twice this summer for fighting. And the organization has not given into his requests for a new contract. But the relationship between Bennett and his coach appears to be as strong as ever.
“I was talking to my wife, and we were watching Hard Knocks, and when Jeff Fisher came in at halftime, I told my wife, I said, ‘Pete Carroll would be totally different in that moment,’ ” Bennett said. “That moment right there, he would have came in a lot more different, a lot more motivating, but in a different type of way. And that’s what makes Pete Carroll different from any other coach. He understands the moment, and there’s times when you can go too hard on a team and they can change the whole momentum.
“But he knows exactly how to use his philosophies to the best of his abilities, and I think that’s what makes him such a great coach. I don’t think his message has changed at all. It’s always been the same: Compete. Compete, no complaining and do the best you can every day.”
Bennett has played three seasons for Carroll, who is now the oldest coach in the NFL. Bennett has started 35 games and piled up 25.5 sacks. Last year, he made the Pro Bowl and was one of four players with at least 10 sacks and 19 tackles for loss.
He said it didn’t take him long to buy into what Carroll was preaching back in 2013, because Carroll had been so successful in college.