Lynn fo­cuses on the big pic­ture at train­ing camp

Los Angeles Times - - FOOTBALL - By Dan Woike dan.woike@la­times.com Twit­ter: @DanWoikeS­ports

More than 5,000 fans watched from the west side of the Charg­ers’ prac­tice field, buzzing over their team’s sea­son of­fi­cially get­ting un­der­way.

Train­ing camp opened Sun­day, the morn­ing clouds clear­ing for a near-per­fect sum­mer day. Bod­ies pressed to­gether — in the bleach­ers, which was ca­pac­ity, on the side­lines where cam­eras and re­porters stud­ied each move and on the side­lines where the 53-man ros­ter of the reg­u­lar sea­son had bal­looned to 90.

The fans were to­gether, shoul­der to shoul­der. Run­ning backs tried to cut through the de­fen­sive line; receivers had their moves shad­owed by de­fen­sive backs.

No one was all alone — ex­cept for the coach.

Stand­ing 50 yards be­hind the line of scrim­mage on nearly every snap, An­thony Lynn was an is­land with a sea of foot­ball sur­round­ing him.

“It’s so I can see the big pic­ture,” Lynn said af­ter his first real prac­tice as the coach of the Los An­ge­les Charg­ers.

He re­mem­bered that his old coach in Den­ver, Mike Shana­han, used to stand back and watch — let the play­ers play and the as­sis­tant coaches coach. Play­ers said they felt a sense of free­dom with Lynn ob­serv­ing from a dis­tance.

His past as a NFL player has bought him cred­i­bil­ity as he goes through his first train­ing camp as a head coach.

“He’s a great coach,” de­fen­sive end Melvin In­gram said. “He’s been through what we’re go­ing through right now, and he knows how to ap­proach us and how to com­mu­ni­cate with us.”

And that com­mu­ni­ca­tion style is longer on im­pact than it is on word count.

“I think Coach Lynn’s pres­ence in the room has been felt. It’s been very good. He’s very mat­ter of fact. He’s real,” quar­ter­back Philip Rivers said. “He doesn’t try to be any dif­fer­ent like, ‘Oh shoot, I’m the head coach now so I have to do this.’ He says it like it is, and I think guys re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate that — his re­al­ness.”

Since tak­ing the job in Jan­uary, Lynn’s made it clear that he’s not one to fil­i­buster. If he can an­swer a ques­tion in a sin­gle word, he will. And his talks with his play­ers haven’t been any dif­fer­ent.

Sat­ur­day, Kobe Bryant talked to the team for about 45 min­utes. It’d be a smart bet that Lynn’s speech was a lit­tle tighter.

“I’m not a big talker. I like clar­ity,” Lynn said. “I like be­ing straight-for­ward with the guys and just keep reem­pha­siz­ing cer­tain things. I think you can talk about so many things that it can cause con­fu­sion. We talked about our val­ues and what we want on the field.”

Asked about those val­ues and what kind of per­son­al­ity he wanted his team to have, Lynn, un­sur­pris­ingly, kept it short.

“In one word — tough,” he said.

Williams out for train­ing camp

A day af­ter the Charg­ers placed their first-round pick, wide re­ceiver Mike Williams, on the ac­tive/ phys­i­cally un­able to per­form list, the team an­nounced he’s “not ex­pected to prac­tice dur­ing train­ing camp.”

“He’s do­ing well in re­hab, and when he’s healthy, he’s healthy,” Lynn said. “You can’t con­trol that.”

Williams has been out since par­tic­i­pat­ing in the first day of rookie mini­camp be­cause of a her­ni­ated disk in his lower back. Charg­ers gen­eral man­ager Tom Te­le­sco re­cently said the plan for Williams’ re­cov­ery in­cluded strength­en­ing and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion — not surgery.

Lynn said he didn’t know whether the in­jury could cost Williams all of his rookie sea­son.

“I’m hope­ful that it’s not, but who knows? It could be,” he said.

Rivers said he was dis­ap­pointed to be with­out Williams, the No. 7 over­all pick in the draft, for camp, but it’s not as big of a blow as it might seem.

“We’re ex­cited about Mike. I was su­per ex­cited when we drafted him. He’s big, tall and can run ... I say that to say I’m re­ally thank­ful for the guys we al­ready have in the re­ceiver room. It’s re­ally a good group,” Rivers said. “…Thank­fully, it’s not a po­si­tion where you’re draft­ing a guy No. 7 and he has to be our guy. When he’s out there, yes, it’ll en­hance that group. But so far, we have enough pieces to feel like we’re in good shape.”

Notes

Lynn said for­mer Pro Bowl cor­ner­back Ja­son Ver­rett was on track to re­turn from the PUP list in a cou­ple of weeks. Ver­rett has been out since early last sea­son be­cause of a knee in­jury. … Tight end An­to­nio Gates, who is en­ter­ing his 16th sea­son, and Rivers will re­ceive days off dur­ing camp, Lynn said. … Rook­ies For­rest Lamp and Dan Feeney played on the first-unit of­fen­sive line, though both play­ers ro­tated in. Safeties Dwight Low­ery and Jahleel Ad­dae opened camp with the first unit, while Craig Mager re­placed Ver­rett along­side Casey Hay­ward. …Tight ends Hunter Henry and Jeff Cum­ber­land made nice catches dur­ing team pe­ri­ods Sun­day. Hay­ward picked off Rivers in one-onone drills, and un­drafted rookie Ar­tavis Scott caught a long touch­down pass from re­cently ac­quired quar­ter­back Cardale Jones.

Nelvin C. Cepeda San Diego Union-Tri­bune

AN­THONY LYNN watches from a dis­tance as the Charg­ers prac­tice on the open­ing day of camp.

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