Chargers set to devour mandatory minicamp with much less on their plate this year
When the Chargers walk off the field at the end of minicamp this week, there will be no awkward goodbyes. Unlike like last year, when the Chargers were in the process of moving from San Diego, cameras won’t surround Philip Rivers as he takes his final steps out of a practice facility he had known his entire career.
Behind the podium where the team’s stars speak, there won’t be stacks of brown cardboard boxes, ready to be stuffed with helmets, pads, pants and uniforms.
There won’t be any holdouts — at least it doesn’t seem as if there will be. There won’t be any talk about new systems, about getting to know coaches or players.
No, the next three days will offer only boring old football for the Chargers, the team wrapping up a relatively quiet offseason with mandatory practices before taking a break until training camp.
“We’re just looking for each guy to give us a couple things that they want to improve on, and we’re really focused on those things they want to improve on,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “We just want for that player to be better when he leaves here on June 15 than when he got here on April 17.”
And, for the most part, they’ve all been there since the start of the offseason program.
Melvin Ingram eventually made it for the final round of organized team activities after offseason workouts with his team of trainers. Joey Bosa sat out the early part of conditioning work to do the same. Melvin Gordon has been around sporadically, but he’ll be present Tuesday.
With two major exceptions, the offseason has been relatively drama-free.
One happened on an innocent-looking play during OTAs, with tight end Hunter Henry suffering a torn ACL that led to season-ending surgery on his right knee. The team has yet to sign a replacement. The likely choice is Antonio Gates, though nothing seems imminent.
Henry was set to be a bigger piece of the offense this season, and at minicamp the Chargers can start to evaluate options to replace him.
The other offseason setback — defensive tackle Corey Liuget being suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy against performance-enhancing substances — won’t come into focus until training camp when players start working out in pads and line play becomes more apparent.
Otherwise, the story lines aren’t anything too new.
Last year’s first-round pick, Mike Williams, was intermittently sidelined during OTAs because of a sore hamstring, but a full minicamp would help him make up for time lost to a back injury last summer. During his absence, college teammate Artevis Scott — a second-year, free-agent receiver who spent last season on the practice squad — has been one of the offseason standouts.
“Just getting in the playbook, learning different systems with our concepts with our team — it was big for me to just have a year under my belt, come out here playing more confident,” he said.
Maybe he’ll play his way on to the roster. Maybe some other unheralded players will surprise. Regardless, the Chargers can take some comfort in knowing this offseason has been about football — and not much else.
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