Chargers Camp: Afternoon Notes

The first action in the afternoon session on Thursday saw the San Diego Chargers in 9 on 9 drills. This is basically a full squad drill minus two offensive linemen and two defensive linemen. This allows the coaches to get a better look at what's going on in the trenches. On a given play you may see the Right Tackle, Right Guard, and Center go against two defensive linemen while the linebackers and defensive backs go into coverage against the wide receivers, tight ends and running backs.

The Quarterback will make his reads and throw accordingly. The first two passes of the drill were completions from Drew Brees to David Boston for a total of about 30 yards. Brees to Boston looks to be a common occurrence this season as you can feel the chemistry begin to emerge. With all the attention paid to Boston things have opened up for everybody and the offense is starting to dominate. Receivers like Reche Caldwell and Tim Dwight often find themselves against single coverage and are reaping the benefits.

On some plays the defense had everything downfield covered but the Charger quarterbacks are well schooled at taking the underneath stuff for positive yards.

Special Teams was the next focus with the kickers getting reps in the fine art of onside kicks. Mike Scifres and Mackenzie Hoambrecker saw the most action at this difficult task.

The standout of this drill was easily Hanik Milligan on the kickers side of the ball. On one play the kick bounced off the helmet of a fellow lightning bolt, showing great coordination and soft hands Hanik snatched it out of mid-air. On other plays he was the first one to the ball or the closest one to it.

Sometimes after giving up a safety the head coach will decide to have the punter boot it instead of the kicker, since they are kicking it from further. The next work saw Scifres doing just that with his first kick sending Brian Sump around to catch it like a pass. This was too tough a task as Scifres boomed it and Sump could not field it cleanly and was forced to settle for a touchback. Have you ever seen a touchback after a safety? Me either. The next kick wasn't nearly quite as good but Scifres was lucky as Nick Maddox misjudged it giving his offense bad field position.

Seven on Seven drills were next and saw Drew Brees focus on passes to the running backs. His first two were designed swing passes for LaDainian Tomlinson who caught them on the run with some daylight ahead. In between plays you could hear Marty Schottenheimer yelling "one play at a time!". The way the first team offense is starting to look he may want to change that to "one touchdown at a time!". Drew's third completion went to FB Lorenzo Neal who drew cheers from the crowd for this rare bone.

The Grand Finale saw full squad situational plays where the coaches would give the offense a down and distance and time left. This was the most entertaining scrimmage I have seen yet as the offense was in a two-minute drill. On the first play Boston ran an out pattern but the pass fell incomplete as Drayton Florence supplied solid coverage playing with the first team defense. The next play showed the persistence of Brees to Boston as the identical pattern was ran and resulted in a 15 yard completion against Florence. After the play I overheard a bolt fan say "looks like Brees found himself a target" as it has become evident that Brees to Boston will be hard to stop.

The next play Brees was forced to his right and threw to Caldwell but Quentin Jammer was there to say: "not this time". Unfortunately for those wanting to see the defense stand up to the offense, the next play saw Drew rolling out to his right again -- this time he threw another pass to Caldwell who caught it in front Jammer good for about 15 yards. After this play Marty was heard saying 9 seconds left. The offense quickly assembled and Brees torched the defense on a TD pass to Tim Dwight with Florence in coverage. Long touchdown passes from Brees to Dwight have become a common occurrence in Carson and the offense is starting to dominate. .Must have something to do with that David Boston guy.

The session ended with some redemption for the defense as Waddy picked off the first pass from Burford. After the INT the second team began to pick-up momentum and the first team defense was sent in. With time running out the offense was unable to punch it in and practice ended on a high note for the defense. Hopefully, tomorrow the defense will come out with a vengeance and find a way to slow down "Brees to Boston".

Will Mortensen

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