At 7:30 AM the field was a bit gloomy with some smog lingering off in the background. Despite the thick air, the day held a breeze and was certainly as comfortable as training camp in the plush confines of La Jolla.
The afternoon session was drenched in sun, but the temperature remained a moderate 75 degrees.
Drew Brees was slightly off on his throws for much of the day. He was constantly overthrowing David Boston on the day while hitting the rest of his receivers quite well.
Brees and Boston stayed after practice together and worked on timing with James Lofton offering pointers along the way. The sight showed the commitment the duo plan for the upcoming season.
Strolls Through the Park
Boston caught some flak from fans who felt that he was not going all out during practice today. In fact, many fans commented that he looked slower than his running times. For those that have never seen Boston run, he was a little slower than normal and seemed a bit off-kilter. Still his stride is seamless and his mere size and strength often get him separation without having to turn on the extra gear. At this stage of the game it appears the main concern is timing with Brees and the work after practice should shed light on any concerns fans may have.
Center Jason Ball was taken out during the morning session and did not return for the afternoon. He sustained a stinger to the right side of his neck and trainers placed some ice on the strain to help loosen it up. Just before the ice came into play, Ball was trying to stretch his neck out to help ease the pain.
The first player on the field this morning was Eric Parker. He was also the first out during the afternoon session. Tim Baker and Kassim Osgood quickly followed in the morning and Osgood immediately sought out Lofton. Lofton threw some passes to Oz to loosen him up and after about five minutes Reche Caldwell and Dondre Gilliam joined in.
On the last play before the Oklahoma drills commenced at the end of the afternoon practice, Brian Sump laid out for an over the shoulder diving catch. It was the play of the day as Sump saved the best for last. After the play Sump pumped his fist signaling an emphatic "YES!", something Kenny Williams has now referred to as the "Sump Pump".
While Sump easily drew the loudest cheers of the day with his all out effort on the play, he also got the biggest "Ahhh" of the day when he slipped and fell on a corner route to the back of the end zone. Going full speed all the time these mistakes will happen. Sump quickly got up and ran his route out catching the ball, but the play was decided when he slipped.
Just for kicks
Darren Bennett and Mike Scifres went at it during punt protection drills. Scifres shanked his first kick off to the left as Bennett provided consistent 40-50 yard punts. One main difference is the hang time Scifres gets on his punts. Scifres had a half second edge in his hang times and settled in after the first punt.
The two are battling it out for the punting job. Scifres appears to have the nod as a kickoff specialist, but he is attempting to secure the punting duties, which would kick Bennett clear off the roster. Likely the determination will not be made until preseason games are played. Bennett has proven his consistency and will be hard to overtake.
After the morning session, fans were treated to players signing autographs. Drew Brees had to be told to get to the locker room for a team meeting and Coach Marty Schottenheimer was the last man to leave the area along the fences. Schottenheimer spent a good five minutes signing various apparel. Many Chargers took part in signing autographs as fans called over their favorite Chargers.
Denis Savage can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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