Wednesday’s practice brought a new face to the field, and also some familiar ones that hadn’t been seen in awhile.
Center J.D. Walton, signed Tuesday, put on a Chargers jersey for the first time as he began the process of learning his new teammates and coaches in a hurry. Walton will be needed. Starting center Chris Watt did not practice Wednesday (groin) and neither did left guard Orlando Franklin (ankle) and left tackle King Dunlap (concussion). Besides Walton, backup center Trevor Robinson is also available at that position, and the Chargers will shuffle the other reinforcements on the line to find the best fit in light of all the injuries.
Head coach Mike McCoy isn’t ready to announce who will be the starting five against the Browns.
“We have a very good idea, but there will be some decisions like every week that we’ll wait as long as possible,” he said. “It might be before I have to turn in the list of the seven guys being down before game day and work some guys out, maybe before the game. We have a couple days before we have to make those decisions. But we have a good feeling on who’s got an opportunity and some other guys who might be a question mark. It’s not any different than any other week.”
Although right guard D.J. Fluker stretched with the team, he did not practice in the portion open to the media, instead watching with his helmet off. After practice ended, he appeared to limp on his right ankle.
Returning to practice Wednesday was safety Jahleel Addae (ankle) and tight end Ladarius Green (concussion), though both were limited in the non-padded practice. Cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Brandon Flowers were full participants. CB Craig Mager (hamstring), WR/KR Jacoby Jones (ankle) and OLB Tourek Williams (foot) did not practice.
Though the condition of the offensive line is worrisome, it’s something quarterback Philip Rivers is (unfortunately) used to, having dealt with it in spades in recent years. Because of that, he said he’s leaving nothing to chance.
“Game-plan wise, you do some things to simplify and make everybody comfortable,” Rivers said. “I know from my standpoint – although I’ve always tried to over-communicate -- I’ve got to over over-communicate just to make sure we’re all on the same page. Don’t even leave a chance for something to go, ‘Gosh, I could have told him that!’
“So, double double-check we’re all on the same page and I think obviously that starts this week in the meetings. Not only on Sunday on the field, but all week making sure with every scenario with who can possibly be in there, if there is something I want to do or will check to, or going to use as a word, that I’ve covered it with him.”