Bryce Callahan is ‘Home’ Patrolling the Slot for Chargers’ New-Look Defense

Bryce Callahan is at ‘home’ working from the slot alignment.

COSTA MESA – The Chargers waited until after the conclusion of the 2022 NFL Draft before reaching an agreement with cornerback Bryce Callahan on a one-year deal.

While he may have initially been viewed as an afterthought, he looks as if he’ll have a major role for the Chargers defense in 2022.

Callahan has turned in a strong training camp, working almost exclusively from the slot alignment. 

“That’s home for Bryce. He’s done it since he came into the National Football League,” defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill said of Callahan playing slot corner. “He also has a great ability to play outside, but we know his strong suit is playing inside. He’s calm in there. He’s seen a lot. He has the quickness and speed to guard pretty much anybody that goes in that slot.”

It’s an art that not just any cornerback can shoulder the load. When working in a more confined space and crossing paths with more foot traffic, it allows for less freedom. But Callahan hasn’t had any issues going stride-for-stride with Keenan Allen during the first eight days of training camp.

“I feel like I’m playing well. I’m just out there competing and having fun and trying to let the rest take care of itself,” Callahan said of his performance thus far.

Allen won the day from the slot on Friday, but that hasn’t changed the overwhelming view of how Callahan has played over the last week and a half. He’s been outstanding, regularly getting his hand in there to break up tight-window throws.

“I don’t think I will get better work from a slot receiver, so just being able to go up against him every day is a blessing,” Callahan said of Allen. “Probably the best work there is, so I can’t complain.”

Callahan said his contested battles with Allen in practice will only benefit him come game time. And that’s worth noting because the AFC West includes some strong options that lineup from the slot, featuring Hunter Renfrow, JuJu Smith-Schuster and KJ Hamler.

Callahan, 30, is coming off back-to-back seasons in which he missed six games as a result of injury. But when healthy, he’s proven to be a quality option of navigating the responsibilities from the slot, and the Chargers are encouraged that he’ll be able to do that for their new-look defense.

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Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.

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