Chargers take two big steps to protect QB Rivers

Sports Xchange

May 15, 2017 at 1:51 pm.

Oct 13, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) passes during the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Qualcomm Stadium. Photo Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 13, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) passes during the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Qualcomm Stadium. Photo Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

COSTA MESA, Calif. — The San Diego Chargers are rebuilding their woeful offensive line and that was evident at the team’s rookie camp.

Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney, the team’s second- and third-round picks, were in the spotlight as much as Mike Williams.

Williams, a Clemson wide receiver and the team’s first pick, was a focus as well.

But if quarterback Philip Rivers doesn’t have time to find Williams — Rivers was hit 98 times last year when fading back to pass — it doesn’t matter what Williams can do.

Enter Lamp, of Western Kentucky, and Feeney, from Indiana. Both stood out playing up mostly at the interior spots, which led to Orlando Franklin being released.

Franklin was dreadful last season, as he was torpedoed by injuries and ineffective play.

So with Franklin gone at right guard and right guard D.J. Fluker, a former first-round pick, already released, there’s plenty of opportunity for Lamp and Feeney.

Both accomplished much in college and Chargers general manager Tom Telesco is expecting them to catch on quickly.

“All these guys combo from college, they’ve got a lot of development to do,” Telesco said. “But we think these guys are ahead of the curve a little bit.”

Lamp, who played left tackle at Western Kentucky, took snaps at right guard. Fenney, a two-time All-American at guard, took reps at center.

With the Chargers installing more protections that the past, it’s imperative for Lamp and Feeney have a quick learning curve. It’s conceivable both are in the starting lineup when the Chargers open against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 11.

“Defensive schemes have gotten so complicated and so good at disguising that guys have to be able to make adjustments on the run,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said.

Lamp and Fenney hit the Chargers field running and the Chargers obviously like what they saw.

–Safety Tre Boston, who played for the Carolina Panthers last year, was signed. Boston started a career-high 10 games last season and also had career-bests in interceptions (two) passes defensed (seven) and sacks (two).

–The Chargers signed draft picks wide receiver Mike Williams, cornerback Desmond King, tackle Sam Tevi and defensive end Isaac Rochell.

–Left guard Orlando Franklin was released and the team’s big plans for him never panned out. Franklin signed a five-year, $36 million deal before the 2015 season. But after being an ironman with Denver, Franklin had trouble staying on the field, and when he was on it, performing at a high level.

–Keep an eye on kicker Younghoe Koo, who signed as a free agent out of Georgia Southern. The South Korean native started kicking in sixth grade after he moved to America. Koo was brought in to push Josh Lambo, who missed all three of his kicks from at least 50 yards and four extra-points. “Every position out here is competition,” coach Anthony Lynn said.

–The rookies were swimming in new information, which maybe curtailed their ability to make eye-opening plays.

“Once they understand how to get lined up, the assignments they have, then you will see them make plays,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “It’s in Week 2, that you will see guys make plays.”

–Unlike last year when top pick Joey Bosa missed training camp in a contract dispute, wide receiver Mike Williams was signed in time for rookie camp.

“I didn’t want to miss no days,” Williams said. “I felt good to get here with the guys.”

Williams said he’s been getting after the playbook.

“Just learn the plays; you got to study a lot,” he said. “The plays are a lot different. It’s just learning the plays and getting the playbook down, that is going to be the biggest thing. You just have to know what you are doing to play fast. It will come over time. At the end of the day it’s football. Just go out there and play fast.”