Defense Showing Improvement

Admittedly the defense of the San Diego Chargers needed help this offseason and the draft saw a few players with the potential to start enter the fray and hell bent on improving a 32nd ranked defense. Today's session saw an effort to prove they are here to stay and can do the job effectively.

Tay Cody recorded the first interception for the defense of the young practice season. Terry Charles running an in route fell down and Cody was able to capitalize, going down to one knee to intercept the pass. Charles further hurt himself in the coaches' eyes when he did not pursue Cody after he took the ball and ran up the sidelines.

Donnie Edwards stripped the ball from Joey Goodspeed after he caught a Drew Brees pass. Goodspeed had just turned upfield and met Edwards on his turn. Edwards took the ball cleanly and ran up the near sidelines, celebrating his play, much to the chagrin of Goodspeed. Goodspeed is still trying to find a rhythm during these sessions and thus far has had perhaps the worst camp of any player.

Ray Lee Johnson got a "sack" as he ran around Damion McIntosh and pulled up on Cleo Lemon. Lemon proceeded to throw the ball about 50 yards downfield but it was too far for Dondre Gilliam.

Jason Fisk got quick pressure as Drew Brees dropped back to pass and Brees pulled the ball down and looked like a pinball as he bounced of Fisk and Jamal Williams who was a second behind Fisk in the backfield.

The defensive line ran some cone drills at the start of practice and coming out of the last cone they were asked to secure a fumble. The drill is designed to keep the players aware of their surroundings as well as a loose ball on the carpet.

The line also worked on their hand slapping techniques against dummy blockers. The guys on the line seemed to take it serious, as they would reset the dummy blocker and slam a hand against it as they looked to speed rush into the backfield.

At the same time 40 yards away the linebackers were working on change of direction drills. Since linebackers must react quick to anything that transpires, this drill is an important part of their training. In a five yard block of the field they would sidestep one way before bolting back the other. They also used the same technique in backpedaling, then jumping forward. As is the case in a real football game these movements happen often. When a linebacker drops back into coverage in a backpedal they will be among the first to react to the ball, since their eyes are almost always on the quarterback.

Ben Leber was showing quick reaction when pitting against the offense. His role was keeping an eye on the running backs and he was among the first to be in position on most calls that resulted in swing passes.

After looking injured on Friday, Otis Leverette seemed re-energized today. During the opening drills he led the way in most of the defensive line work. Not sure if he tweaked an ankle or got an earful, but he appears whole again.

Mackenzie Hoambrecker and Mike Scifres were practicing their kickoffs today and both were about the same as far as distance. They all dropped anywhere between the end zone and the 10 yard line, a good 10 yards from what we are used to from last year when kicks landed between the 15-20.

-Denis Savage (On the prowl)

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