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Chargers coordinator Ken Whisenhunt says offensive line improving

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Even with the season-ending knee injury of second-round selection Forrest Lamp, the Los Angeles Chargers likely will have three new starters along the offensive line for the 2017 season.

Gone from last season are left tackle King Dunlap, left guard Orlando Franklin and right guard D.J. Fluker, released during the offseason as a cost-cutting move by the Chargers because of uneven play.

In their place, the Chargers added left tackle Russell Okung in free agency, moved Matt Slauson from center to left guard and inserted second-year pro Spencer Pulley at center.

The rest of the starting five for now is Kenny Wiggins at right guard and Joe Barksdale at right tackle, with third-round selection Dan Feeney getting some work at both center and right guard.

In this conversation with Darren Smith of The Mighty 1090 AM radio, Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said he likes what he's seen so far from the guys up front.

"They're doing a really nice job," Whisenhunt said. "I think that's one of the hardest areas for a group, especially in the spring when you don't have pads on -- to really get that bonding of how you work combinations together and how you pass off stunts.

"So it's been really good during this part of camp. And going against the Rams was good because you get to see a group of defensive guys that are different. How we communicate and handle some of the blocking schemes from a communication standpoint in the run game -- those fits can be tough. In order for Melvin to have success like he did last year, we've got to do a good job with that, and we've got a lot of different guys this year."

Along with relocating to Los Angeles, the Chargers also have had to deal with transitioning to a new head coach in Anthony Lynn. However, Whisenhunt said Lynn has been solid in his first months as the team's new leader on the field.

"The one thing I really like about Anthony is he doesn’t have an ego," Whisenhunt said. "He has a very clear vision of what he wants done, and I certainly appreciate that. And he's been very good in working with us.

"He's been in the league as a player and a coach for a while, and he definitely has ideas on how he wants things done. And they're a little bit different than what we've been doing, which you would expect. But he's also been very good about asking what we feel about that and how we feel about that, so it really makes for a good working environment."

As far as his offense on the field, Whisenhunt will get a good look on Sunday when the Chargers host the Seattle Seahawks in the team's exhibition opener at StubHub Center.

Whisenhunt said he'll use the preseason game to evaluate some of the younger players and try to get veteran players ready to go.

"What I really like to do is try to find out about guys in different roles," Whisenhunt said. "Probably in-season there's some scenarios you won't put certain players in because you don't have trust with them about being able to handle it.

"Maybe it's for instance playing a tight end in a receiver role to see how he'll do it, or maybe a guy that you have a gadget play for to see how he'll do it. So the preseason to me is a little bit about seeing what your guys can do."