Chargers Camp: Welcome Back

Stephen Alexander was back on the field in the afternoon session and is off the PUP list for the San Diego Chargers. Alexander even stayed after practice to catch a few balls from the "machine". Sammy Davis, however, did not dress after doing a light workout in the morning session.

Stephen Alexander was placed on the PUP list by the Chargers in case there was any lingering affects from groin surgery five weeks ago. Alexander did not make a big splash on the day, making one reception during a two minute drill, but he did drop a ball.

"Did you see that ball I missed? It just came up on me quick and I bobbled it and could not hold on," Alexander said.

The Chargers are expecting big things from Alexander this year and that includes staying off the injured list and on the field.

Paraphrasing what Tim Dwight told 1090, "I spoke with Stephen and said just wait until this season when we have 4 or 5 guys to cover. Someone will always be open."

Alexander was fourth on the team last season with 45 receptions, but caught only one touchdown. The Chargers are expecting him to become one of many forces down in the end zone and not disappear for games at a time.

The running back started out working with the kickoff machine which send balls through the air as if it was a kickoff. It was really just a warm-up session as each running back got a turn and Demarco McCleskey had serious trouble holding onto the ball during the drill.

On the other side a select few were catching punts from Mike Scifres and Darren Bennett. The usual suspects were back there, Reche Caldwell, Dondre Gilliam, Tim Dwight, and Brian Sump. Caldwell badly misjudged one punt as it sailed over his head and he tried to compensate but that ball bounced off his outstretched hands. The play drew jeers from his teammates, among others.

The linebackers were again off by themselves working on catching balls on a run as it zips towards their hands. Carlos Polk and Stephen Cooper were the two who lacked concentration and showed poor hands with drops.

Hanik Milligan and Kevin House went at it during defensive back drills.

No, they did not fight, but here is what happened:

The defensive backs practiced fade routes with one or the other in coverage and one acting as the receiver. Ryan McNeil yelled, "Ball! Ball! Ball!" every time the rock left the quarterbacks hands so the defending player would know to get his hands up and look back to try and locate the ball for a possible interception..

Milligan and House were taking each drill to heart and trying in earnest to show the other one up. House, physical as he is, started the little competition by taking Milligan down with some body contact. As Milligan jumped up to make a reception, House followed and banged bodies with Milligan before knocking the ball away and Milligan to the ground. Milligan responded in suit when it was his turn to be the defender. They both had good laughs about the healthy competition and the added fire resulted in good results for the defense, the whole idea behind the drill.

Ryan McNeil was not so happy when he ran the drills. No one yelled, "Ball!" while he was in coverage and McNeil came back to the group of players complaining that they need to be more vocal. McNeil is clearly the leader of this group and hopefully the players grasp the idea that they must play as one cohesive unit to succeed and be just as vocal on the field to succeed.

Notes

No progress was reported today in negotiations to keep the Chargers football team in San Diego by resolving issues involving Qualcomm Stadium.

Guard Toniu Fonoti (strained triceps), safeties Terrence Kiel (fibula) and Lemual Ligon (foot), wide receiver Eric Parker (shoulder) and defensive end Marcellus Wiley (hamstring) were held out of both practices. Cornerback Tay Cody (leg) sat out the afternoon workout as did cornerback Sammy Davis after getting a light workout in the morning session. Quarterback Doug Flutie also sat out the afternoon session after spending time with the quarterbacks and hauling in some passes from them during the morning. Flutie was not happy about his lack of practice as detailed earlier. Defensive end Adrian Dingle (knee) and tackle Vaughn Parker (shoulder) were held out of the afternoon session so they could rest. Wiley could be back at practice as early as Friday.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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