Chargers Camp: Along the O-Line

With the offensive line getting no love we focus on the efforts of the line over the last two days at training camp in Carson. Jeff Sturgis gives his take from Saturday drills and Denis Savage spotlights Courtney Van Buren. The San Diego Chargers selected Van Buren in the third round of the 2003 Draft and with Vaughn Parker sitting out Friday he got plenty of reps to dissect.

Since Damion McIntosh was so accommodating to fans, we saw fit to give a recap of one particular play he was dominant on.

McIntosh showed he is fleet of foot when he came all the way from his left tackle position to throw a block on a safety on the far right side of the field near the sideline. The play opened up a hole for Jesse Chatman who was patiently awaiting an opening on the outside.

When you think about that particular play, it is amazing to see a 300-plus pound lineman lead the charge across the field and get there before the running back hits the hole.

The following is the take from Chargers camp for Saturday August 2nd, 2003 Courtesy of Jeff Sturgis:

Before the 11 on 11 drills, the offensive line started on the blocking sled. Vaughn Parker was back on the field, but Fonoti continues to sit out. The starting line from left to right was McIntosh, Garmon, Ball, Page, and Parker. LaDainian Tomlinson and Lorenzo Neal worked in the backfield with Drew Brees, but Tomlinson cut his workout short for the day. Neil had a nice pass in the short yardage work and was a monster in the blocking schemes. Neil and Garmon blew up the short yardage defense multiple times today. The Garmon and Neil express with Chatman in tow was lethal. Garmon also paired with Norman for some solid blocking. Lorenzo Neil showed why he is a Pro Bowl fullback when he took on Matt Wilhelm and thumped him into submission.

The second offensive group took over with Bogle the stand out blocker. Bogle sprang a nice hole for Pinnock. Dahrran Diedreck had a good catch out of the backfield and made good YAK up field. Courtney Van Buren and Antonio Gates tag teamed with some impressive hole generation for Diedreck. Bob Hallen earned the distinct honor of "chief boner" of the day by sending a snap about ten feet over Burford's head while in shotgun formation. David Binn has nothing to worry about if Hallen ever decided to challenge him for long snapping duties.

The defensive finally got some penetration from Otis Leverette, who paired up with Vernon Fox to generate some disruption.

Here is a look at Courtney Van Buren from Friday and Saturday's practice sessions courtesy of Denis Savage:

Courtney VanBuren got beat by Ray Lee Johnson (Johnson missed the afternoon session Friday and Saturday) as Johnson faked a rush upfield on the outside and Van Buren got caught backpedaling too far when Johnson cut it back underneath to the inside to create pressure on Doug Flutie. Flutie had to deliver a quick shovel pass to Chatman to avoid a sack.

Van Buren looked better playing in space when he pulled out of his left tackle spot and led the way for Chatman. Van Buren got a helping hand on Jude Waddy, who was being blocked by another lineman, before releasing out and smacking Drayton Florence in the chest knocking him to the ground and clearing the way.

Johnson again bested Van Buren when he went with a straight outside rush and beat Van Buren around the corner creating pressure on Doug Flutie. Johnson had a clear shot at Flutie, but the diminutive QB stepped up and under Johnson and tucked the ball and ran with it. Van Buren did follow Johnson and stop the pursuit with a well executed second block. The positive is Van Buren did not give up on the play and continued his assignment.

Van Buren then took on Adrian Dingle, who had bested him frequently in the last few practices and held his ground nicely. Van Buren attacked Dingle at the point of attack, not allowing Dingle to use his speed and neutralizing him -- allowing time for the pass to be complete to Onome Ojo who caught the pass in front of Tony Okanlawon.

Van Buren had another nice block on Dingle as Dingle tried to bull rush him. Van Buren met him and turned Dingle outside before forcibly pushing him to the left hashmarks and out of harms way.

Officials were out on the field, but it is hard to know how tightly they were calling the game today. Dingle rushed to the outside catching Van Buren flat footed and moved to the inside where he had Van Buren beat. Van Buren proceeded to hold Dingle from behind – a clear penalty had it been done in a game.

On the next play Van Buren got a little lost as he didn't have a man to block. He quickly retreated back towards the quarterback, Cleo Lemon, when he realized there was no threat on his side, to pick up and defenders who made it through the other side. It was a nice heads up play by Van Buren to ensure his quarterbacks safety and add the extra level of protection had someone gotten through on the right side.

Van Buren then got some work in the running game. He was part of a double team that picked off Doug Sims long enough to allow the run to go outside to the right. Sims tried to recover by hustling out wide, but the play had already been determined and Van Buren chalked up a win for doing his job.


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