Entering his first season under Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn, Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt expects to see more of the same offensive fireworks the Bolts put up last year.
On Wednesday, Whiz spoke with the media about anything and everything offense-related.
Here are key takeaways from Whiz's conference:
- Plan for Mike Williams– Since Williams has been sidelined with a back injury, he's been missing out on getting valuable reps on the field*. *With that said, Whiz believes his college pedigree will help him get up to speed once he's healthy:
"I think I saw where Coach Lynn said that he's fallen behind. So let's face it; there is no way to prevent that. We talk about this, and as a matter of fact we did that today, but we talk about seeing things on paper and seeing them on video. It's a whole different thing than running it on the field. There's no substitute for that. So we're doing as much as we can to keep Mike engaged. I think that the one thing he's got going for him is he played in a big time conference, won the National Championship and made some huge plays in that game. So he does have the pedigree that he's going to be successful in those types of situations. Hopefully that will help the transition when he gets out there ready to roll."
- Playing Time for the Tight Ends – With Antonio Gates entering his 15th season and Hunter Henry entering his second, many questions have been asked about how playing time will be split. If one thing is for certain, it's that having two tight ends of that caliber is a good problem to have:
"It worked pretty good last year. Both of them were productive. There's going to be different things different weeks, but we're still going to try to utilize both those guys. It's good to see Antonio out here. He's looking good. But we're not going to ignore the fact that Hunter is really coming along as a young tight end in the league. He's done a nice job, so I'm sure there'll be times when both of them will be on the field…. When you've got some guys like that, it's a good problem to have when trying to balance all those things."
- Read Option Rivers? – Although Philip Rivers ticks pretty much every box on the elite quarterback chart, it's no secret he isn't the most mobile QB in the league. However, Rivers took everyone by surprise on Wednesday running a read-option play. While Whisenhunt said plays like that are fun to try during the offseason, he didn't put a total stop on the possibility the Bolts break it out during the regular season. Defenses beware:
"Well, I think this is always fun to do those kinds of things in OTAs. You'll probably see less of that in season. But, you never know. If he's feeling frisky one day, we may take a shot at it. There are a lot of things in the playbook. A lot of times it depends on what your opponents are giving you. But this time of year, you're looking at different things. I think you're just trying to tie things together. We have a run out of that same set that's pretty good. And one of the ways they can defense it is just crashing that backside in. A lot of times they don't respect that because Philip doesn't run. So sometimes to keep defenses honest, you have to do this."
- Competition at RB– We know that Melvin Gordon has cemented himself as the bell cow back in the Bolts' system. However, the competition for the number two spot is furiously active. Whiz shed some light on who has impressed as of late:
"I see a lot of guys that are getting better. Andre Williams is a guy that has made giant steps from where he was last year on our roster. I know he played (a) strong last game, but he's even gotten better. I think there's competition at that position, and that's important. It's good to see BO (Branden Oliver) back out there practicing. He's performed for us when he hasn't been nicked, so that's exciting. Melvin's been really doing a great job for us. It's good to see him back, and hopefully build off what he started last year. We'll see in camp how that all shakes out, but it's good to have these guys really compete the way they are."
- Rookies at the Ready– When Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney were selected in the second and third rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft, there was a lot of chatter on how the rookies would factor into the competition on the offensive line. On Tuesday, both were thrown into action with the first team. According to Whiz, Tuesday was a test to see how they'd handle the situation:
"They haven't been rattled. They've been good with their technique. They have a good understanding. They've shown as much as you can in OTAs that they can handle it. So why not see how they can handle it with the first group? I think that's part of putting them in that spot. It's a great part of this game. Seeing guys in that spot and what they can do with it. So it's something that you'd like to see them take advantage of, and hopefully we'll see that."
The Bolts return to the practice field for Day Two of mini camp.