Chargers focused on keeping injured WR Mike Williams engaged

Mike Williams tries to stay mentally involved in the offense while he recovers from a mild disk herniation. AP Photo/Chris Carlson

SAN DIEGO -- Although he couldn’t participate in offseason workouts, Los Angeles Chargers receiver Mike Williams was glued to receivers coach Nick Sirianni during team drills, getting mental reps by listening to the play calls.

And in the meeting room, he sat next to veteran Keenan Allen, who’s serving as a mentor for the Clemson product to quickly learn the offense.

Williams was diagnosed with a mild disk herniation after his first practice during rookie minicamp last month and hasn’t practice since. Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said the hope is Lynn’s back quiets down enough with rest that he can begin physical therapy during the offseason and potentially be ready to go for training camp.

Until then, Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt has to figure out ways to keep Williams part of the process.

“We talk about seeing things on paper and seeing them on video,” Whisenhunt said. “It’s a whole different thing than running it on the field. There’s no substitute for that. So we’re doing as much as we can to keep Mike engaged.

“I think that the one thing he’s got going for him is he played in a big-time conference, won the national championship and made some huge plays in that game. So he does have the pedigree that he’s going to be successful in those types of situations. Hopefully, that will help the transition when he gets out there ready to roll.”

One thing the Chargers liked about Williams was his ability to quickly picking things up in terms of offense scheme and his role in the offense. That ability to adapt on the run should serve Williams well once he’s healthy enough to hit the field.

“At some point, you’ve got to understand the concept of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it,” Whisenhunt said. “That’s it. That’s really the key for these young guys. Sometimes it takes them a little bit longer. Sometimes it’s even a confidence thing.

“When you get jammed up on a release, and you’re trying to get down the field, it’s frustrating. Now why did I get jammed up? How do I counter that? So it is a process. I don’t think you can say there’s a certain timetable for it. Hopefully a guy like Mike Williams, who has played at the level he’s played at, transitions when he gets to practicing to make it a little bit easier. But I guess we’ll have to see.”

Lynn pleased with offseason work: At the conclusion of practice on Thursday, Lynn told reporters that offseason work went well, and he looks forward to players reconvening at the team’s new Costa Mesa facility in six weeks. “I thought these guys did a heck of a job of doing some team building, learning the system, competing well on the field against each other and taking care of one another -- just a highly productive offseason.”

Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane said one of the team building efforts Lynn set up was a paint ball event.

“I thought that was amazing,” Mebane said. “It was real competitive. They mixed the teams up, and at the end we did offense vs. defense, and of course the defense won.”

Now that offseason program is over, Lynn said he reiterated to his players to continue to take care of their bodies and stay out of trouble.

“[I talked about] just staying in shape, how to do that and protect the team -- and that means a whole lot of things,” Lynn said. “Everybody get back here safe and in one piece.”

Rookie offensive linemen improving: Whisenhunt said he liked the progress of young offensive linemen Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney have made so far. Both got some work with the starters during the mandatory minicamp this week.

“They haven’t been rattled,” Whisenhunt said. “They’ve been good with their technique. They have a good understanding. They’ve shown as much as you can in OTAs that they can handle it. So why not see how they can handle it with the first group.

“I think that’s part of putting them in that spot. It’s a great part of this game. Seeing guys in that spot and what they can do with it. So it’s something that you’d like to see them take advantage of, and hopefully we’ll see that.”