COSTA MESA – More than five thousand fans watched from the west side of the Chargers’ practice field, buzzing over their team’s season officially getting underway.
Training camp opened Sunday, the morning clouds clearing for a near-perfect summer day. Bodies pressed together – in the bleachers which was capacity, on the sidelines were cameras and reporters studied each move and on the sidelines where the 53-man roster of the regular season had ballooned to 90.
The fans were together, shoulder to shoulder. Running backs tried to cut through the defensive line; receivers had their moves shadowed by defensive backs.
No one was all alone – except for the coach.
Standing 50 yards behind the line of scrimmage on nearly every snap, Lynn was an island with a sea of football surrounding him.
“It’s so I can see the big picture,” Lynn said after his first real practice as the coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.
He remembered that his old coach in Denver, Mike Shanahan, used to stand back and watch – let the players play and the assistant coaches coach. Players said they felt a sense of freedom with Lynn observing from distance.
His past as a NFL player has bought him credibility as he goes through his first training camp as a head coach,
“He’s a great coach,” defensive end Melvin Ingram said. “He’s been through what we’re going through right now, and he knows how to approach us and how to communicate with us.”
And that communication style is longer on impact than it is on word count.
“I think Coach Lynn’s presence in the room has been felt. It’s been very good. He’s very matter of fact. He’s real,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “He doesn’t try to be any different like, ‘Oh shoot, I’m the head coach now so I have to do this.’ He says it like it is, and I think guys really appreciate that – his realness.”
Since taking the job in January, Lynn’s made…