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Chargers' dynamic duo of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa can be special

SAN DIEGO -- According to Melvin Ingram, one of the attractions of returning to the Los Angeles Chargers on a long-term deal was lining up with teammate Joey Bosa.

“It was big,” Ingram said. “I feel like when he came here, he and I clicked instantly. We had chemistry instantly. I feel like it can only get stronger. Last year was really big. We got a head start on everything and this is our second year playing together so we’re really a lot more comfortable together. It’s going to be special.”

The two combined for 18.5 sacks last season, and both expect even better production now that they have a year of playing together under their belt.

“He’s the speed guy,” Bosa told the team’s website about Ingram. “He can get off the ball and just run right around you. You saw that over [and over again] last year. Me, I think I’m a little more technical with my hands and everything. We are both obviously always working to become better athletes and better with our technique. I think I learn a lot from him and he learns a lot from me.”

The Chargers placed the franchise tag on Ingram in February with the intention of securing a long-term deal with the South Carolina product. Ingram signed a four-year, $66 million agreement this week that included $42 million in guaranteed money.

For now, Ingram will work on getting comfortable in a new position and with a new position coach. Ingram will switch from a 3-4 outside linebacker to a LEO defensive end in defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s new scheme.

Ingram will now work with defensive line coach Giff Smith on a daily basis. The position switch likely means Ingram will get more opportunities to rush the passer.

“It’s different, but it’s still similar,” Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said. “We were a 3-4 team, but we played four-down spacing. Now, he’s in a 3-point [stance] instead of a 2-point -- and sometimes, he still will be in a 3-point [stance].”

Selected No. 18 overall in the 2012 draft, the 28-year-old North Carolina native had trouble staying on the field his first three years in the NFL. Ingram suffered an ACL knee injury in 2013 and a hip issue in 2014, missing a total of 19 games during that stretch.

However, after changing his nutrition plan and losing 20 pounds during the 2015 offseason, Ingram has not missed a game in two years. Ingram has 18.5 sacks over the past two seasons, which is tied for No. 12 in the NFL during that time.

Ingram finished with 10.5 sacks in 2015, the first time the Chargers had a player record double-digit sacks since Antwan Barnes in 2011.

“I’m happy for him, considering that I’ve been able to watch him have to overcome injuries, continue to focus on his tasks and be the best he can be as a player,” tight end Antonio Gates said. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of him, because I was around him when he dealt with those situations with his injuries. And at one point he was very down because he was a first-rounder.

“I just remember seeing him constantly work. It’s deserving, watching him work every day and work this past season. I’m just happy for him and his family.”