Monday Morning: Chargers Camp

Monday morning saw the San Diego Chargers suit up in full pads, but the full team was not on the field this morning. Missing from practice was a quartet of receivers and one previously injured man may have had a setback. A fifth receiver went down midway through practice and did not return.

David Boston was held out of practice again today with an abdominal strain. Tim Dwight also sat out for the second day in a row nursing a groin injury. Kassim Osgood strained his thumb on a fantastic grab during Fan Fest 2003. Eric Parker sat out yet again with a shoulder injury.

Reche Caldwell left practice early with a knee injury and did not return.

Marcellus Wiley restrained his hamstring early on during 11 on 11 drills on the short field and did not return. Wiley had missed a week of practice to heal the hammy and returned to practice this weekend. With Johnson out, the injury to Wiley bears watching. Omari Hand played in place of Johnson and had a nice day.

The offense and defense were banging it up during running drills today. There was no hesitation with smacking pads in this lively session. The defense made sure the offense knew it was there all day long today. Tackles were common as was fierce hitting across the board. When the ball smacked a "thud" was heard in the stands from the defensive line hitting the offensive line trying to get penetration. Many times they did and they got by far the most accolades on the day.

The offense meanwhile struggled without its receiving corps.

Meanwhile back at the running drills, LaDainian Tomlinson showed his elusiveness when he made something out of nothing. With the offensive line faltering in front of him, LT cut this way and that making everyone and their mother miss en route to a long gain down the sidelines. LT is ready for the season. LT also showed off his straight arm against Donne Edwards after shedding Tay Cody at the line. Edwards watched LT pass and shook a finger at him saying, "OK. OK. I see how it is." Unfortunately for Edwards he did not get another chance to get redemption today. It is coming though.

Hudson Houck was all over Courtney VanBuren on one play today. The drill saw two members of the defensive line go against two members of the offensive line with the quarterback taking a five step drop and staying in the pocket as the defense tried to get to him. Houck asked Van Buren to get back on the line after a missed assignment and Courtney replied with a swear. Houck did not take too kindly to that saying, "Get the [expletive] off the line.

"Let me go again Coach," said Van Buren.

"[Expletive] you! Get the [expletive] out of here!" Houck sternly replied.

Van Buren took the hint and walked past where his teammates stood to take a knee facing away from the coach and the rest of the play. He put his head down and reassessed his priorities. He clearly was troubled, but the move by Houck was necessary to keep Van Buren on track as he still has a lot to learn. Van Buren would eventually get back out there during 11 on 11 drills on a different field and played better much of the day.

The almost hit of the day goes to Kwamie Lassiter. Tim Baker went deep with Tay Cody in tight coverage and Drew Brees tried to thread the pass in. The ball tipped off the hands of Baker as Cody deflected it slightly before it got to him. Lassiter, the deep man back, rolled his coverage overt to the play and got there just as the ball arrived and clocked Baker. The almost part of it is – he pulled up so he would not knock out Baker on the play. Had he gone full out and Baker caught it, Lassiter would have knocked the ball loose easily.

That play is one of those things you do not see in practice often, but game time is coming up this week and the defense was more spirited. While lots of passes are generally caught in practice, some will turn into misses when the game arrives and hitting commences.

See you after the afternoon session!

Denis Savage can be reached at

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