Each year during the spring NFL meeting, head coaches take their spot at the table for breakfast while fielding questions from the media.
Tuesday marked Anthony Lynn's first time holding court in the annual tradition, and he opened up about his first few months on the job as well as what to expect this season. Here are some of the top takeaways from the session:
- Whether or not the Bolts select a quarterback this year has been a hot topic leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft. Lynn didn't deny the Chargers could be interested in one, explaining why he thinks the time is right to add one behind Philip Rivers:
"I think we do have to get a young quarterback on campus. We need to start developing someone because we have two veteran quarterbacks, and both of them are long in the tooth. I think they have some good years left in them; don't get me wrong. But you have to start thinking about down the line, too…I would love for a young quarterback to get in here and learn from Philip. Philip is the ultimate pro in my opinion. We have a good situation for a young quarterback that doesn't have to come in and play right now. He can sit, watch and learn."
- When it comes to evaluating young QB prospects, Lynn outlined what he looks for to determine future success:
"Taking care of the football is number one. That is something that we are going to do a lot better this year. Accuracy and leadership at that position. Whether you like it or not, you are the leader of that offense. Guys that can move the ball down the field and guys that can command their team. Get us in the right plays and right position. Read defenses. All those things. Mobility helps, especially for young quarterbacks (because) until they can figure it out, at least they can get out of harm's way."
- The Bolts released two offensive linemen this offseason in King Dunlap and D.J. Fluker. While the team signed Russell Okung to man the blindside, the right guard position is up for grabs at the moment:
"You have (Spencer) Pulley and (Max) Tuerk. Those are two interesting young, developing guys. I'm interested to see how they come along, because that can change the whole dynamics on the line. (Matt) Slauson can go to guard, his natural position, and one of those guys can take over at center. We just don't know yet to be honest. We are going to play around with that puzzle, and maybe we'll get a piece in the draft. I don't know. But we are going to play around with those three. You have (Orlando) Franklin, you have Slauson, you have Tuerk and Pulley. I want to see which ones step up."
- Meanwhile, Lynn couldn't help but gush over Okung as he outlined why the tackle was a priority to add up front:
"I liked the way he played on the left side. He is very aggressive, he is athletic, he can move; I like his temperament and his leadership ability. He is the type of guy I want in my locker room."
- Lynn is often asked about Melvin Gordon due to his prowess as a running backs guru. While he was a fan of the workhorse rusher before taking the job, he explained why he is an even bigger fan of number 28 after doing more research:
"I like Melvin. Melvin is actually better than I thought he was. I like a runner that can get what's blocked, and then win his one-on-one's. Melvin broke more tackles and won more one-on-one's than I thought he did. I was very impressed with him."
- With so many weapons on offense, Lynn was also asked how he plans to strike a balance between riding Gordon and letting Rivers spread the ball around:
"Defenses will help us find that balance because if they want to take Melvin away, we have a quarterback that can throw it. If they want to take Philip away, we have a running back and offensive line that I feel like we can run it. We want to be balanced, but we're going to take whatever they give us. We're fortunate enough to have an elite quarterback and an elite runner."
- At the same time, the Chargers will rely on other backs besides Gordon. They recently added Kenjon Barner and re-signed Branden Oliver to battle it out for a backup position along with Andre Williams and Kenneth Farrow. While happy with the running back stable, Lynn admitted they are looking to add to the group:
"I think it's pretty solid. I think Andre Williams is going to step up and do what he did his rookie year in New York. Oliver, I'm happy to have him back. I've watched him for a long time. He was at the University of Buffalo. I think we're pretty solid, (but) we'd like to add to it (so) don't get me wrong…I'm looking for a guy who can be a tandem back with Melvin. I like to run the football multiple ways, so it's going to take more than one runner."
- Lynn was asked a follow up question about what he likes about Williams, who starred in his one game on the active roster last year. The 6-0, 220-pound running back carried the ball 18 times for 87 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry in the season finale:
"Coming out of school and studying Andre, he's a big back who ran with good power. He's a very disciplined athlete who has lost some weight. He's quicker now, and he still runs with power. Just teach him some things out of the backfield and in the receiving game that can help him get more touches. He's going to be fine."
- Keenan Allen missed virtually the entire 2016 campaign after suffering a knee injury in Week 1. The head coach said while he is progressing, it is up to the doctors for when he will be "turned loose." Nonetheless, he likes the receiving group as a whole:
"(Allen is) doing good and working every day. I see him down in the weight room every day and on the field. We'll see when the doctors turn him loose, but he's doing well…I thought the (receivers) did a solid job (when Allen was out) last year. They are young, and I see a lot of growth there. A lot of potential, but obviously, didn't win enough games. So everyone has to improve and keep improving."
- Another young player to earn Lynn's praise was Hunter Henry, who led all tight ends with eight touchdowns as a rookie. He also finished with 36 catches for 478 yards:
"He can be one of the top tight ends in this league. He'll step in there. He'll block. He'll catch. (We have) Antonio Gates so he is learning from one of the best in the game right now."
- One of the first moves during free agency was locking up Jahleel Addae to a long-term deal. The head coach explained why that was a priority, and how he plans to use the hard hitting safety moving forward:
"We were lucky to get him back and sign him as a free agent. He's a tone setter in the back end. He has all the intangibles of a Charger. He was a priority for us. He can play deep. He can play close to the line of scrimmage. He is physical!We are rocking and rolling with him. He won't just play in the back, and I think he will benefit from that…He brings it every day. If you watch the tape, he brings it every snap. So I like him a lot. His leadership (and) how he plays the game; he's an impact hitter. People will think twice going over the middle."
- Many mock drafts believe the Bolts could target a safety, and Lynn admitted it is an impressive class:
"There are some good safeties coming out. I like Jamal Adams. I like (Jabrill) Peppers. He could be a nice safety in the National Football League. Obi (Melifonwu), the young man from Connecticut, has a nice presence down in the box as a strong safety. (There are) some talented safeties…(Peppers) plays so many positions, I believe if you put him at one position he can be a superstar. It is just that simple. He has been a superstar his whole life. I don't think it is going to stop because of the National Football League."
- The Chargers' defense also boasts a pair of top pass rushers in Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Lynn explained how they present challenges for opposing offenses who aren't able to double both players:
"Knowing Gus' system and attacking style that we are going to play, those are two really good options. You really can't slide the line in protection one way because the other guy is just as good. That is going to help our defense a lot…Joey is a workhorse. I'm sure he will show up in the same type of condition and I am looking forward to see him and Melvin Ingram on opposite sides."
- Voluntary workouts for the offseason program begin Monday. While interactions between the staff and players are limited, Lynn will have a chance to address the team for the first time. He revealed his plans for the offseason program, as well as how it will differ from training camp:
"This offseason, what we want to accomplish is we want to be is a very conditioned football team. Our offseason (will be) about getting stronger and well-conditioned. We don't want the soft tissue injuries. Everything is preventative with injuries moving forward. That is what I am going to use the offseason for. When I get to training camp, that's a different story. Then you are going to get (our) philosophy. Then you are going to get the hardcore message. But right now, (Strength and Conditioning Coach) John Lott is going to (act) as the assistant head coach of the Chargers because he is going to run things this offseason."
- Lynn is also eager to use the offseason program to get to know the players as individuals. Right now, all he knows is based on film review and going against them in the past:
"Not being around them every day, you don't really know a lot. You watch a lot of tape. But I think we have a good team. I think we could be better than what our record showed the last couple years. We are going to focus on some things conceptually and change that."