Chargers anxious to see how new pieces fit as first OTA gets underway Tuesday

Throughout the Chargers’ offseason, general manager Tom Telesco has given coach Anthony Lynn tiny pieces to add to the puzzle that wasn’t quite complete in the team’s first season back in Los Angeles.

►Got him a new center — a big, nasty veteran who is hoping to put injury problems behind him while he tries to regain his Pro Bowl form.

►Got him a run-blocking savant at tight end, someone who could help the Chargers become the ground-dominant team Lynn desires.

►Got him an electric safety in the first round of the NFL draft and one of the best pass rushers in college football in the second, trying to shore up some of the holes on an already stingy defense.


Tuesday, during the team’s first organized team activity practice of the summer, everyone will get a chance to see how these new pieces fit.

The most seamless transition should be for center Mike Pouncey, an NFL veteran whom the Chargers added when Miami cut him as a salary-cap casualty.

Pouncey and Philip Rivers already have begun working to get on the same page, and the team’s longtime quarterback should benefit from playing behind the team’s most accomplished center since Nick Hardwick played in San Diego.

Virgil Green, an under-the-radar addition at tight end, should play opposite Hunter Henry in the spot Antonio Gates occupied last season. Green’s toughness and underrated pass-catching ability could earn him Rivers’ trust early.


Draft picks Derwin James (safety) and Uchenna Nwosu (linebacker) have the kind of defensive versatility where either could line up in multiple spots over the course of the game. While neither will be asked to do so in their first real pro practices, fans could get a sense of what the Chargers project by where the rookies line up first.

The first round of OTAs also could give a glimpse at how cornerback Jason Verrett and guard Forrest Lamp have progressed coming off knee surgeries. Verrett is a big-time talent who adds depth to an already loaded position. While Lamp also had a recent minor knee procedure, he’s still tracking toward a return for the start of training camp.

In addition to all the new pieces the Chargers will have, OTAs will be a chance for last year’s top pick to settle into his pro career. Mike Williams, the seventh pick of 2017 who was sidelined by back issues and left behind during last year’s offseason workouts, is healthy and on the field.

The Chargers patiently and strategically waited last season to evaluate how Williams could fit in to the offense, but never got a full look. As with their other new pieces, they’ll start to get a better idea of what they might have Tuesday.


Twitter: @DanWoikeSports

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