As head coach Anthony Lynn made his way up to the podium to address the media Wednesday, he clapped his hands once, smiled, and mentioned that he was “feeling the juice.”
When asked about his positive demeanor in the midst of news that center Mike Pouncey will miss the remainder of the season due to injury, Lynn remarked that, “Being down’s not going to help. Refocusing, learning, going out and practicing our tail off today, that’s what’s going to help.”
Although Pouncey’s leadership presence on the offensive line will be missed, according to Lynn, Sunday’s game against the Steelers will provide an opportunity for players to step up and fill that void.
“Who knows (who will step up), that’s why young players get these opportunities and we’ll see,” Lynn said. “Maybe it’s Forrest Lamp, maybe it's Dan Feeney…They’ll have plenty of opportunities to step up.”
Lynn also announced that Feeney, who has seen most of his time at left guard so far this season, will move over to center to replace Pouncey, while Forrest Lamp will slide in at left guard Sunday.
“Absolutely, you don’t want to see a guy like that go down,” Feeney said. “It’s up to all of us and everyone has to take a piece of the pie and roll.”
Both Lynn and quarterback Philip Rivers expressed confidence in Feeney’s ability to transition to center due to the time Feeney spent taking reps at the position during preseason.
“I think we are a tough enough (and) strong enough group mentally, and physically we have the capabilities with the roster to carry on and find a way,” Rivers said.
Rivers, who will make his 214th consecutive start for the Chargers, has seen this franchise endure injuries and 2-3 records before, and has confidence that his team can withstand it again.
“In years past we’ve been at our best when it’s been that way,” Rivers said. “We’ve been better when it’s been that way…. There’s just still so much ball left. We’ve been 2-3 in some of our best record-wise seasons, over the past 15 years that I’ve been here…. We’ve been in this boat and kind of gotten rolling. Hopefully we weather the storm injury-wise and kind of find a way to win a game, and then, hopefully, we can string some (wins) together.”
Rivers specifically recalled the Chargers’ 2009 season where the team started off slow but ended up winning 11 straight games, finishing the season with a 13-3 record and winning the AFC West.
Take an inside look as the Chargers took the Hoag Performance Center field to begin preparations for Sunday Night Football.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin also knows not to underestimate a Chargers team with multiple injuries.
“We believe that everybody in that locker room is a credible professional, and so one man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity,” said Tomlin. “There should be a level of excitement about the opportunity that’s being presented to another able-bodied man.”
As injuries continue to mount for the Chargers, Lynn was asked if he felt as though “Murphy’s Law” had brought an unexplainable string of bad luck to the team.
“Well, we just have to kick Murphy’s butt,” Lynn said.
The Chargers will face off against the Steelers on Sunday Night Football on NBC. Kickoff from ROKiT Field at Dignity Health Sports Park is at 5:20 p.m. PT.