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Dwight Lowery, Tre Boston in battle to be Chargers' free safety

Dwight Lowery has experience in Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley's scheme from their time in Jacksonville. Jake Roth/USA Today Sports

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- One of the few true competitions for a starting job on the Los Angeles Chargers' roster is between veterans Dwight Lowery and Tre Boston at free safety.

Entering his 10th season, Lowery is the incumbent. He played a team-high 961 snaps on defense for the Chargers last season. Lowery, 31, also has experience with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and his Seattle Cover 3 scheme from his time with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“I think the competition is good,” Lowery said. “There’s things I feel that I can do as a football player that I feel confident in, and obviously there’s things that Tre does well. He comes from a very good defense in Carolina and has a lot of experience playing safety in this league.

“It’s fun. I don’t like stuff being handed to me. This game has never been that way. You have to earn everything you get. You don’t survive in this game for a long time unless you earn what you get.”

Boston signed with the Chargers as a free agent after being released by the Carolina Panthers this offseason in a cost-cutting move.

A fourth-round selection by the Panthers in 2014 out of North Carolina, Boston totaled 108 tackles, three interceptions and two sacks in 42 games, including 16 starts. The 25-year-old also has 10 career pass breakups.

At 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, Boston mostly played free safety for the Panthers last season.

“Me and Dwight are getting better each day,” Boston said. “It’s amazing to see a guy in Year 10 get better with me, and he allows me to get better, too.

“We talk to each other each day about what we see on each play, and it’s stuff like that that a Year 4 guy and a Year 10 guy can come together and really help mold and bring the culture that we want to this team and the defense. So that’s going great, and the best man wins.”

The Chargers also drafted two safeties: Rayshawn Jenkins in the fourth round and Desmond King in the fifth round. For now, Lowery and Boston will battle for the starting free safety job. And whoever does not come out on top will likely remain involved in the defense as a sub-package player.

“It’s going to be a nice competition back there,” Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said. “Tre has a lot of energy. If you notice before practice, he’s a guy that’s out there breakdancing. That’s just part of his personality, and it’s contagious. You need a few guys like that.”

Chargers pick up practice intensity: There was a lot more salty language and pads popping at the Chargers' second padded practice Wednesday. After a ho-hum start to fully padded practices Tuesday, coaches and players made a concerted effort to pick up the intensity level, and it worked. Competition was more heated and the Chargers played with more energy, resulting in a more spirited practice. “I’m a very vocal guy, and I wanted to make sure I brought the juice today -- get guys going and bring energy,” Boston said. “I want my guys to know that’s how it’s got to be. We’ve got to be ready to go. We can’t have practices where we’re lolling around.”

Players have Thursday off: After four days of training camp, the Chargers are off Thursday. Lynn said he wants to make sure players take advantage of it by getting off their feet, hydrating and doing a little bit of cardio work. “And I hope not going to the club,” Lynn added with a laugh.

Injury update: The news of the day on Thursday was the Chargers announcing that rookie offensive lineman Forrest Lamp suffered an ACL injury in his right knee and is out for the year. The injury is a big blow to the Chargers’ offensive line, as the Western Kentucky lineman was selected as a plug-and-play player at guard this season. Along with Lamp, defensive end Chris Landrum and receiver Geremy Davis sat out with unspecified injuries. Receiver Mike Williams, cornerback Jason Verrett and safety Darrell Stuckey remain on the physically unable to perform list.