The Los Angeles Chargers are ready to turn the page from last season's disastrous ending, which included allowing a 27-0 playoff lead against the Jacksonville Jaguars to slip away.
At the onset of OTAs this week, star edge rusher Khalil Mack said the club is approaching the offseason with the mindset of not allowing such an ending to befell them again.
"The only positive thing about it is that it was last year, last season," Mack said Monday, via the team's official transcript. "Have a lot more to look forward to, knowing where the potential is and all of that, which is neither here nor there. Can't focus on it, even though it is hard. It's one of those things. Me and Joey (Bosa) were talking about it, it was like a bad dream, like a nightmare. Waking up from it and just putting in the work to make sure that it doesn't happen again."
The ending of the horror film wasn't the only negative for L.A., which, despite a 10-7 playoff season, went through its fill of struggles, with head coach Brandon Staley seeming to be on the hot seat much of the campaign.
One issue for L.A.'s defense was Mack and Bosa played in just six games together, including the playoff loss. Bosa suffered a groin tear in Week 3 and missed the next 12 games before returning.
"Not even close," Mack said when asked if the duo had scratched the surface. "I think that it was three games in last year [when Bosa was injured], Week 3. Just can't wait to get out there with this guy. Not talk too much, but get to work."
In Week 1 against the Las Vegas Raiders last season, the duo got off to a hot start. Mack generated three sacks of Derek Carr, and Bosa corralled 1.5. Unfortunately, the chance to build on that momentum was sapped after Bosa's injury.
"Yeah, we were out there for six or five games together?" Bosa said. "I think we were really growing close together during camp. We kind of feed off each other in the rush. I know when I went down, obviously, it kind of was a big shock for me, obviously, and for Khalil and for [outside linebacker coach] Giff (Smith) and all of those guys in the room. We had been working so hard all camp and we have an idea of how we're rushing together and this and that, so it obviously throws us a curveball, including Khalil. I think the more time that we're out there together, the more comfortable we're going to be together and the more that we're going to understand each other when somebody is doing something in the rush.
"Like I said last year a bunch of times, I think we complement each other well. Once we get more reps and more time together, it'll start being non-verbal communication out there. We'll really get a feel for each other and when a guy is going high, a guy is going low. I think we have the opportunity to really get to a special spot between us two."
For an L.A. club hoping to put the nightmare of 2022 behind them, having Mack and Bosa healthy together would go a long way.