Although it was only a two hour trip up the SoCal coast to reach their new home, for the Chargers, it seems like a much longer road. From die hard San Diego fans burning jerseys to calling one of the smallest NFL stadiums by capacity their new home, this upcoming Chargers season will attract curious viewers heading into training camp.
With new head coach Anthony Lynn at the helm, the Chargers will be playing under a new system. Lynn has a received positive reaction from the players, who appreciate his coaching style and attitude towards the game. Players have also stated that practices under Lynn have had a different feeling than what it was under former head coach Mike McCoy. Lynn will attempt to lead a team that has only managed nine wins in two seasons back to playoff caliber. Chargers fans will need patience as Lynn settles into his new digs.
Coming right out of the gates, however, the Chargers have seen two key players carted off the field and have questions about returning starters and what impact they’ll have on the season. Rookie Guard Forrest Lamp suffered a torn knee ligament during last Wednesday’s practice after attempting a block during a routine running play. Unfortunately, Chargers fans will miss the chance to see the rookie in action and will have wait until next season for him to see his first season experience.
Speaking of rookies, Mike Williams, the Chargers first round selection, could miss quite some time due to back issues. This injury has fans beginning to question whether drafting a receiver as the top pick was a good choice. Williams first season remains a giant question mark as his return will be delayed in proving him to be a promising player. The Chargers have a known past of injuries striking down their top players, and the hope was that the bug wouldn’t bite again this season.
Knock on wood for the remaining healthy players.
Questions are looming over returning players coming back from injury plagued seasons. One that comes to mind is wide receiver, Keenan Allen. Allen seems to be making a comeback after suffering a season ending ACL injury last year. As a vet of the Chargers wide receiving corps, Allen is expected to make it through camp healthy and become a major contributor in the offense throughout the entirety of the season.
Another player on the injury radar is cornerback Jason Verrett, who entered camp on the PUP( physically unable to perform) list. There was an assumption that Verrett would enter camp healthy this year, however, plans changed and as the preseason begins, Verrett will be on the watchlist.
As far as the move to Los Angeles, some players are keeping their feelings private about it. Quarterback Philip Rivers has even kept it cool when he expresses missing things back in San Diego. Fans will also endure the fact that this will be a frequently asked question brought up by the media throughout the whole preseason.
Over this past weekend, Chargers fans got the first glimpse of their team and their new home, the Stub Hub Center, in a joint practice with the Los Angeles Rams. Although the fan presence was positive and alive, the atmosphere of the 27,000 seat was a little bit awkward.
Still, an estimated 8,000 fans packed into the intimate venue to watch the two L.A. teams in action. Expect the intimate atmosphere to be put to the test when the Chargers welcome in the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday night.