Chargers Sam Tevi is in the ‘driver’s seat’ at left tackle

The Chargers had their first practice open to the media and there were some interesting news and notes.
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The doors of Jack Hammett Farm Sports Complex opened for the first time this summer, which means training camp is on.

That means football is back.

The players ran some slow-paced drills, stretched, and went through individual warmups. All while the speakers blasted R&B music.

During practice, Sam Tevi was practicing with the starters but at a whole new position. He was at left tackle, and when asked after practice, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said Tevi was "in the driver's seat," at the position.

He has played left tackle once before as a rookie on December 24th, 2017, against the New York Jets. The other 29 starts have been at right tackle.

"Sam's been in the system," Lynn said. "He's played both sides for us. He's played more."

Tevi will have competition, though, according to Lynn. The team drafted Trey Pipkins last season, but he is raw coming out of Division II Sioux Falls. He started against the then Oakland Raiders for the injured Russell Okung.

"When Trey came in last year, I didn't think it was too big for him," explained Lynn. "I liked the look he had in the Oakland game. I thought he held his own. So, I am expecting Trey to compete as well."

Pipkins still has some work to do, but he had a brace on his leg during practice. Lynn said it was "a minor setback a few days ago …he's working through it."

Lynn said both players will be put in competitive situations to see how they respond, but reiterated that he feels good about Tevi as the blindside protector.

Another player that was asked about possibly of playing the left tackle position was Forrest Lamp, who switched his number from 77 to 76, but Lynn wasn't ready to throw his name in the left tackle competition.

"We gotta make sure Forrest can compete at one spot before we start trying to teach him two spots," Lynn said. "I know he played left tackle in college (at Western Kentucky), but that's college. (It is) a little different game up here. I'm not saying that he can't do it, but I like Forrest inside before he got hurt a few years ago. No doubt, he can be a starting guard in this league."

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Another note from practice was defensive end Melvin Ingram, who was in sweats on the sideline. After practice, Lynn was asked if Ingram was dealing with an injury and if he was fine.

"Melvin's going to be fine," explained Lynn. "He's all in. He is in every meeting, and he's out there coaching and helping the young guys."

Lynn was asked a follow up if it was anything injury-wise, "I mean, just company business."

Ingram is going into the final year of his four-year $64 million deal he signed in 2017. He will be a free agent next offseason. He is coming off a third straight pro bowl year, so it will be interesting to monitor the situation between Ingram and his contract status.

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On Tuesday's episode of Hard Knocks, Lynn announced to his team that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

"We just happen to be on Hard Knocks," explained Lynn. "I was talking to my team."

The opening scene of HBO's Emmy award-winning show was Lynn revealing to his team that he had tested positive and every player's face was stunned.

"I was trying to explain and get across to my team that you can't be too careful with these protocols because anyone who knows me knows I take this virus very seriously," he said. "I feel very fortunate. The 1% who do die…you don't think much about it until you get it. I just wanted to get that across to my team."

The Chargers, as an organization are taking COVID seriously and are doing everything they can to make sure their players and coaches are safe.

The team will wear pads for the first time on Monday, August 17th.