<
>

Anthony Lynn's training camp wish: a healthy Jason Verrett

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- While veteran players took off for vacation to exotic locales, Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said he’ll use the free time over the next month or so to move into his office at the team’s new headquarters in Costa Mesa.

“I try to get away and relax a little bit myself for a couple weeks,” Lynn said. “But with the move, I’m sure I’ll go down and get my office situated and just watch a little more tape. It’s kind of relaxing for me to have no one in the building.”

While Lynn will use his free time to do some self-scouting, one of the players he has not been able to evaluate in person is cornerback Jason Verrett, which leads to our first question in this week’s mailbag:

@eric_d_williams: Lynn has taken a cautious approach to bringing Verrett along, and for good reason.

The TCU product has proven he’s one of the best corners in the NFL when healthy. However, Verrertt missed 24 games in his first three years in the league. Verrett suffered a partially torn ACL in his left knee that cut short his 2016 season.

“He’s not allowed right now to participate in team drills,” Lynn said, when asked about Verrett’s progress returning from the knee injury during June’s mandatory minicamp. “He can do some one-on-ones in individuals and things like that, but he can’t do any team drills.”

Verrett is known for his desire to practice, and Lynn said keeping the player out of team drills during offseason work was a chore.

“He’s trying to get in there,” Lynn said. “I had to kick him out of walk-through last week. He can’t even do walk-through because that’s considered a team drill. But he’s been very into it, standing back there with me watching the defense and making the calls. He’s very focused.”

Lynn hopes the extra time to heal will help Verrett make a successful return to the field once training camp begins at the end of July. With Casey Hayward's breakout performance last season, the Chargers have one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFL if both Hayward and Verrett can stay on the field.

“It’s kind of wait-and-see, but yes I’d love to have him back for training camp,” Lynn said.

@eric_d_williams: Both incumbents at kicker and punter have legitimate competition for their jobs that likely will go deep into training camp.

Josh Lambo split reps with undrafted rookie kicker Younghoe Koo during offseason workouts, while Drew Kaser has been rotating at punter with Arkansas product Toby Baker.

Lambo missed a kick at the end of a two-minute drill during the team’s final week of practice at minicamp while Koo made a kick in a similar situation.

A day later, both Lambo and Koo missed a kick each during a field-goal competition in a special-teams period.

“Koo is kicking good, and Josh is kicking well,” Lynn said about the competition at kicker. “We’ve tried to create some competition for those guys and put them in situations where they have to make that kick in crunch time, and Koo has done a really good job of that.”

It’s too soon to tell what players are ahead at this point, but the competition at both kicker and punter will be a storyline to watch in training camp.