COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn indicated there could be some shuffling along the offensive line during the offseason, depending on whether left guard Matt Slauson and right guard Kenny Wiggins return in free agency.
And that includes last year’s third-round selection, Dan Feeney, potentially taking over for Spencer Pulley at center. In his first season as a starter, Pulley had his moments, but the Vanderbilt product’s overall play was uneven.
“He has some versatility between guard and center, so that’s good for us,” Chargers GM Tom Telesco said about Feeney during the recent NFL combine. “We really think he can play almost as equally at either spot, so we’ll kind of see how it shakes out during the offseason, depending on who is back and who our best five are up front. But he might play guard or center moving forward.”
Added Lynn: “Dan could be an elite center in this league. If Slauson comes back, Slauson could hold down the left guard spot and Dan could move to center.”
The Chargers also have to find a spot for 2017 second-round pick Forrest Lamp, who missed all of last season with an ACL injury. Lynn is looking to get bigger and more physical up front to help generate more consistency in the running game.
With Wiggins set to hit free agency, Lamp is currently penciled in at right guard. Lynn said he liked how Joe Barksdale played at right tackle when healthy. And Russell Okung is slated to return at left tackle.
“We like him,” Lynn said about Wiggins. “I think he played well enough to where he’s going to get a lot of interest [in free agency], but we’d love to have him back. You don’t want to lose offensive linemen, especially guys who know the system.”
Tre Boston in Chargers’ plans? Telesco and the Chargers would like to have Boston back in free agency. However, Boston could generate some interest on the open market next week in a free-agent class that’s not very deep at the safety position.
“Tre came in a little late in the process and played 99 percent of the snaps for us,” Telesco said. “I don’t think he missed a day of practice. He had great enthusiasm on the field and in the locker room, made plays in the passing game. He had five interceptions. He probably could have had seven or eight. He came in and played really solid football for us.”
Melvin Gordon not going anywhere: According to Telesco, Gordon will be with the Chargers moving forward, with the Bolts planning on picking up his fifth-year option at a projected price tag of $9.6 million in 2019.
“I would anticipate him being here,” said Telesco, when asked about the prospects of a long-term deal for Gordon.
Lynn said he was comfortable with the way Gordon finished last year, and that he was one of the best runners in the NFL the last four weeks of the season.
“It just seems like the bigger the game, the better he plays,” Lynn said. “We’re going to have to monitor that knee a little bit. He was gimpy at the beginning of the season, I think, because he maybe pushed too much in training camp.
“Being around him for a year and knowing what he can handle, we’ll just have to do a better job of that. I’m very comfortable with Melvin Gordon.”
Lynn said he still would like to have more called runs to create more balance on offense. The Chargers averaged 37 passes and 19 runs during the team’s 0-4 start. During the team’s final stretch, when they won nine of their last 12 games, the Chargers averaged 34 passes and 29 runs a game.
Improved LB position needed to stop the run: Asked about improvements his team needs on defense, the no-nonsense Lynn pointed to more depth needed at linebacker.
“We have to stop the run,” he said. “There’s no doubt about it. That was our Achilles heel all year, was stopping the run. Some of that is coming from the linebacker play. I think we need to get better at linebacker.
“When we have those edge-rushers -- and I love my edge-rushers -- but the Catch-22 with edge-rushers is sometimes it opens up running lanes. But I thought Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, I thought they did a good job once we emphasized stopping the run, of playing more down the middle and playing more run technique versus pass -- that’s really unselfish of those guys.”
Odds and ends: On the list of things to do for the Chargers during the offseason is to meet with Casey Hayward’s representation about a contract extension. ... There remains a possibility that reserve quarterback Kellen Clemens returns in free agency. ... Isaac Rochell, Darius Philon and Whitney Richardson are young defensive linemen that flashed in practice or in games last season, which bodes well for the future. Lynn seemed to indicate he may be more interested in finding defensive line depth in free agency rather than the draft. “I’ve seen a few good ones,” Lynn said about the defensive line prospects in this year’s draft class. “But in college, they’re playing against different animals. Hopefully it transfers to this league, but you just don’t know. So, we have to address it in free agency if we can.”