Eric D. Williams, ESPN Staff Writer 351d

Anthony Lynn's fresh approach to training has Chargers healthier

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- You'd think Anthony Lynn would use the bye week to take some downtime and recharge for the second half of the season.

Think again. Lynn attended Game 6 of the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros at Dodgers Stadium this week.

But other than that, it's been back to work for Lynn and the rest of his coaching staff as they evaluate their play over the first half of the season and look for ways to improve.

One way the Chargers have already improved is by staying healthier than in seasons past.

The Chargers have 11 players on injured reserve this season, and 17 of the team's 22 Week 1 starters have played in each of the team's eight games this year. Linebacker Denzel Perryman is expected to come off the injured reserve and join the active roster next week.

Yes, the Chargers have lost some key players to injury this season. Rookie second-round pick Forrest Lamp and cornerback Jason Verrett had season-ending knee injuries, and guard Matt Slauson is done for the year after suffering a torn biceps.

But last season, the Chargers finished with 18 players on injured reserve, tied for third-most in the NFL. And only seven of the team's 22 Week 1 starters played in every game of the 2016 season.

According to Football Outsiders' adjusted games lost (AGL) metric -- an attempt to quantify how much teams were affected by injuries during the season -- only the Chicago Bears finished worse than the Chargers last season in terms of injuries.

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco took a comprehensive look at how the organization handles injuries during the offseason, both in terms of securing players with healthy backgrounds and by taking better care of players once they are at the facility.

And a point of emphasis for Lynn was to change the way his team trained during both the offseason and regular season.

"We have guys doing a different kind of cardio, getting them off the grass in the training room and getting their heart rates up so they can stay in shape and maintain their stamina," Lynn said. "We're doing some things differently. We brought in recovery days. We brought in flexibility coaches, injury prevention coaches. We've made an effort to get better with soft tissue injuries and just keeping guys off the IR."

Lynn hired a new strength coach in John Lott, who focused on distance training and building stamina during the offseason. Lynn also has changed the way the Chargers practice, using three tempos -- full speed, slide-and-glide and jog through -- which he learned about while coaching under Bill Walsh and Mike Shanahan.

Even on days when the Chargers practice in full pads, Lynn will have his team take the pads off halfway through practice in order to give his players enough rest during the week.

"When you can learn to practice at those three tempos, I think you can take some pressure off your team and get to the game fresher and not beat up all the time,” Lynn said. "I would say we practice more without pads. Once you learn how to practice without the pads, I think it's beneficial.”

Lynn said one of the reasons he gave his players a full week off during the bye week was to allow their bodies a chance to recover.

"I just thought about the season we've had so far," Lynn said. "It's been a grind. And I need some time just to spend with the coaches with the players out of the building as well."

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