Chargers' Mike Williams flashes playmaking ability first week of camp

Mike Williams, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2017 draft, is getting into a rhythm after missing training camp last season. Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- According to this tweet from ESPN Insider Adam Schefter, the Los Angeles Chargers are one of two teams that have two players who suffered ACL knee injuries so far this season.

Hunter Henry sustained a right ACL knee injury in May, while fellow tight end Austin Roberts suffered the same fate last week.

LA's other team, the Los Angeles Rams, also had two players suffer season-ending ACLknee tears: defensive end Morgan Cox and offensive lineman Rod Taylor.

Of course, the narrative nationally for the last, couple seasons has been that the Chargers are a snake-bitten team that continues to suffer a rash of injuries to their frontline players. Along with Henry and Roberts, cornerback Jason Verrett suffered a season-ending Achilles tear during a conditioning test last week.

According to Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders, the Chargers were among the league's worst in adjusted games lost in 2015 and 2016. However, with the hiring of Anthony Lynn as the team's head coach last season, those numbers changed, and the Chargers were No. 16 in adjusted games lost last season.

I detailed here the overall plan Lynn and Chargers GM Tom Telesco orchestrated to the team's training and conditioning program, which helped change the team's injury fortune. Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports also did something similar here.

So while the narrative nationally is the Chargers are an injury-ravaged team, Telesco is actually pleased with the improvement the Chargers have made on the injury front since he took over the team in 2013.

"The numbers say it's not," Telesco said, when asked if he thought the Chargers were an injury-plagued team. "Our strength and conditioning staff, our training staff, our nutrition staff, I'm really, really happy with what they are doing with our players. We made a lot of changes from when we moved from San Diego to here, and I feel really good about them.

"But no matter what you do or how much work you put into it, players are going to get hurt -- there's no way around it. But when I looked at our injuries compared to other teams over a three, four or five-year span, they're not a lot different."

Let's take a look at a question from this week's mailbag:

@eric_d_williams: Healthy for the first time as a pro, Mike Williams has been impressive during his first week of training camp.

Entering his second season after a rookie year in which he dealt with back and knee issues, the Clemson product looks confident running routes because of his knowledge of the offense, which has allowed him to play faster and create explosive plays during team drills.

"Confidence comes with making plays," Williams said. "Playing football, I have made a lot of plays [in my life]. I just have to come out here every day and continue to make plays. The confidence will come from that."

Veteran receivers such as Tyrell Williams have noticed the difference in Mike Williams' demeanor this year.

"It's been big [having him at camp]," Tyrell Williams said. "We weren't able to have him out here at training camp last year so he's getting the reps. It's going to make all the difference, to let him get comfortable, understand the plays and understand the concepts"

Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said now that Mike Williams has gotten into a rhythm, the Chargers can start to figure out how best to use him.

With tight end Hunter Henry out for the year, the Chargers will count on Williams to help fill the void.

"As he continues to grow, we're kind of finding out a little bit of where he can go and what he can do," Whisenhunt said. "One of the things when you asked about [WR] Keenan [Allen], is he set the standard of being able to line up in different spots and be successful. That's what we're trying to do a little bit with Mike -- to create those matchups where we can use his size. Hopefully, those things can work out."

For answers to more mailbag questions, click here.