In the Trenches

You want to play a position that gets little love and glory? Want to play a position where a big man's fists are constantly in your face? Do you dream of someone else's sweat mixing in with your own? A big man's butt in your face every play doesn't scare you? We have the positions for you to play along the offense or defensive line.<br><br> The weekend Mini-Camp battle along the trenches in San Diego Charger land…

With a revamped secondary the defensive line will still have to create pressure up front. The return of Jamal Williams and health of Jason Fisk on the inside will help against the run.

A five man group will be assembled to man the front lines on offense. The job is to create holes for LaDainian Tomlinson to run through and protect Drew Brees so he can find David Boston open all day.

This past week they paired off versus each other and got some solid hits in, even if they weren't really supposed to.

Otis Leverette showed a bit of strength at the line getting off the snap quick and taking it to the newest Charger, Solomon Page. Leverette simply overpowered him on the play and was quickly in the backfield. The result was a forced throw that went incomplete. Page did do a nice job against Jamal Williams on the inside. Williams was trying to use his leverage to clog the middle but Page was able to turn him outside and negate him from the play. Page also showed some hustle by making a last ditch effort to push Marcellus Wiley outside as he was within striking distance of Brees.

On the other side Damion McIntosh was cremating anyone he faced. His first test came against an overwhelmed Scott Pospisil who came back later to fight Courtney Van Buren. Pospisil stood little chance in penetrating when he met the Mac truck. McIntosh continued his dominance in run blocking when he pushed the pile moving the whole defensive line right opening up a cavern for Antoineo Harris to run through. McIntosh wasn't done. Pulling and leading the way for Nick Maddox he met Jordan Kramer in the open space and smothered the speedy rookie. Mac was on fire when run blocking and found his mark each and every time. He played the drills as if it were real.

Not to be known simply as a run defender, McIntosh met a stunting Jason Fisk while Drew Brees was dropping back to pass and pushed him outside with relative ease. The only mark against McIntosh on the day was when he had to resort to holding a blitzing Terrence Kiel who had him beat on the outside.

Kelvin Garmon showed off his run blocking prowess by pushing around a number of defenders. Garmon was especially solid sealing off the outside when pulling and eliminated Ray Lee Johnson on one such play. He also showed his awareness when he scooped up a Jesse Chatman fumble.

Phil Bogle had a rookie day marred by inconsistency. He took out LaMarcus McDonald on one play by flattening him to the turf as he tried to blitz through a gap up the middle. Then later on he got yelled at by the coaching staff after getting schooled by Jason Fisk and Jamal Williams who ended up bouncing DeMarco McCleskey around in the backfield. He came back by pushing one lineman to the inside on a running play and quickly releasing the block to block another defender to the outside.

Toniu Fonoti was working the trenches with some spirit. Working in close quarters he was frequently the guy plays ran behind. Chatman utilized him more than once as he frequently got positioning on his opponents. Fonoti also led the charge on one of the few carries LT had in drills. He sped to the outside to become the lead blocker on the play and got some help from Justin Peelle who was blocking along side him. Tim Dwight also stopped his man cold and if it wasn't for the safety coming up it would have been smooth sailing for LT.

Cory Raymer handled the inside with Jason Ball out and one thing that has been prevalent in camp is the fumbled snaps. All last year Ball to Brees committed one fumble and this from an undrafted free agent. There have been quite a few fumbles over the past few weeks. It was no different today when a fumbled snap saw Raymer, Cleo Lemon, Justin Peelle and Alex Tuttle doing pushups to make amends. Luckily Dahrran Diedrick smothered the ball quickly. Raymer did open a few nice holes, and one in particular while going against Fisk paved the way for Chatman to spring straight up the guy.

Courtney Van Buren was getting some nice pushes on the day but his positioning and placement was off. On a few occasions Van Buren was blocking someone right into the proposed running lanes. With his big frame in the way there was little the running backs could do to avoid him.

Wiley was energetic this weekend. That is before he came up limping on Saturday. Wiley split the seam of offensive linemen and clearly had Brees in his sights before pulling up. Wiley then got his hands up on a Seth Burford pass and it caused the pass to sail high and wide of its mark. Wiley was also showing some nice lane coverage when he snagged Maddox in the backfield. Of course he was just one of about 5 guys who whipped the offensive line on the play.

Doug Sims had a great day. His hands were always up in the air looking to slap a pass down and he was creating a solid push up the middle. One pass glanced off his fingertips and towards the end of the second session linemen were starting to hold him on every down. Bob Hallen had to hold him on one play to save his quarterbacks life as the big man swiped by him with power and ferocity. Sims made a living in the backfield and Saturday no one could stop him. It looks like the extra work to slim down has revved his motor up.

In fact, Drayton Florence owes Sims and Omari Hand a thank you for quickly creating pressure from two sides and allowing him to intercept his pass. Playing on separate sides they both arrived in the backfield at the same time.

Hand would continue to get around the right tackle and Lemon stepped up more than once to elude him. Hand continued his pursuit but Lemon was downfield before he could change direction.

Antonio Gates was lost a little in his blocking up front and heard the words, "Get Inside, get inside!" a number of times on the day. This referred to his blocking which allowed defenders to get inside the tackles on him instead of holding them to the outside.

One more day of notes to follow as we wrap up camp coverage until Carson. After that we delve into the position battles based on notes compiled, who has shown to be special and who is next to get cut, and finally get to our interview archives. An interview schedule will go up this weekend on our premium boards. Chargers Update will take the next month to go through them all as over 20 Exclusive Interviews are on tap.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net or via the following link: Denis Savage

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