The Chargers kicked off the first full-pad practice of training camp with individual drills. Energy was high but the team did not capitalize on every rep. Keenan Allen let a pass go over his head after turning to the ball too late. Ronnie Brown, who has taken over No. 23 this season, dropped a pass from Mike Hermann, resulting in ten push-ups for punishment.
Mano a Mano
OT Max Starks
USA TODAY Sports
Allen matched up against Steve Williams for the first time in camp, but not the first time in their careers; they played college ball together at Cal.
Charlie Whitehurst looked confident during the drill, completing 6-of-9 passes. Whitehurst seems to be channeling former backup QB Billy Volek and is comfortable with his No. 2 role.
One of the key positional battles is at cornerback. The 10 corners on the roster combine for just 19 years of experience, an average of less than two years per player. Half of corners are rookies. Derek Cox and Shareece Wright may have the starting spots solidified, but the sub-package jobs are up for grabs. Based off today's practice, Patrick and Marcus Cromartie are leading the fight for the No. 3 and 4 spots.
Working in the trenches, the offensive and defensive lines went at it. Cam Thomas got past Nick Hardwick early on while Chad Rinehart contained Corey Liuget.
New special teams coach Kevin Spencer picked on Cornelius Brown and Cromartie during a blocking drill. The two couldn't manage to shuffle their feet and block Richard Goodman. The two had to repeat the drill multiple times until the assistant coach was happy. They were apparently frustrated, as at the end of the drill there was some pushing and shoving between Brown and Goodman.
Manti Te'o looked good against the run, managing to get to Ryan Mathews early. He was a step away from intercepting a bullet thrown by Rivers down the middle. However, when Te'o was matched against Antonio Gates there was little contest.
With Vincent Brown sidelined, Allen and Robert Meachem held down the second team with Dan DePalma rotating in.
Seven on Sevens
Patrick had another impressive period, forcing two incompletions.
DePalma could be this preseason's unheralded receiver that becomes a fan favorite. He had another consistently good practice on Saturday. He caught two more passes during the seven-on-seven drill.
ILB Bront Bird worked with the second team. With the injuries mounting on defense, Bird could take on a larger role this year. He worked hard on Saturday, forcing Whitehurst out of the pocket twice as one of the day's most productive pass rushers.
At the end of the day the Chargers mixed up their offensive line for the first time this camp, bringing Max Starks in at left tackle and moving King Dunlap to right tackle. This was the first time Starks got to see action with the starters during team drills.
John Phillips and Ladarius Green are making the backup tight end spot a contest. Both performed well today. The coaching staff has been giving Phillips more reps than Green, but Green ended the day with a 20-yard catch up the right sideline.
Most notable was Vincent Brown, who hung out on the sidelines in sweats with an apparent leg injury.
Dwight Freeney chose not to push it and sat out practice for the first time.
Le'Ron McClain remained sidelined for the second straight day.
Jarret Johnson also sat out for a second straight day.
1. The Chargers got a visit and a post-practice pep talk from future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson, who was doing some reporting for the NFL Network.
2. Goodman had to use all of his vertical to get over the top of Josh Johnson for what was possibly the most acrobatic catch of the day during the one-on-one drills.
3. Mathews had his best day at camp. Once the pads came on, so did the aggression. Mathews looked great running to his left. He might be looking at a rebound year if this offensive line can continue to create holes like they've done so far in camp.
1. Cox continues to struggle, getting beaten far too often for a No. 1 cornerback. This only makes the cornerback battle that much more interesting.
2. Hermann spent little time with the offense during drills as the coaching staff has noticed his struggles. Instead, he took snaps during the pass-rush drills. Hermann got his first opportunity to work with the offense at the end of the seven-on-sevens, but only threw twice. On both occasions he appeared timid.
3. Whitehurst got to claim the first fumble during camp as he lost it under pressure from the second-team defensive line. Through three days, the training camp turnover count is now at three. Could be worse, right?
For more coverage, check out this training camp diary in our message boards.
Brian Ducoffe is in his third year of covering San Diego sports. He has been published on Fox Sports San Diego and University Link Magazine. Follow Brian on twitter @brianducoffe.