Training Camp: Technical Tuesday

With only one practice, Tuesday afternoon saw The San Diego Chargers in full gear. The pace started slowly then kicked in to high gear as soon as scrimmages commenced. With the stout defensive play the day before, Charger fans were anxious to see if the trend would continue...

Before the team met on the field for stretching exercises, David Boston worked with his fellow wideouts. He did some mild running and highsteps, stretching in between. Although he did not participate after stretching with the team, it has been reported that come Saturday, the Seattle Seahawks will have the un-envious task of trying to cover #89.

The Offensive Line was seen walking through blocking schemes with Damion McIntosh at LT, Kelvin Garmon at LG, Jason Ball at C, Solomon Page at RG, and Vaughn Parker at RT. Toniu Fonoti, the massive Samoan, #71, was present sporting a black brace around his right elbow as he still nurses a triceps strain(due back next week).

With this starting unit's time together, and the outstanding play of undrafted rookie Phil Bogle, one wonders what is in store for last years starting right guard. Fonoti, a punishing run blocker, badly needs reps as he must polish up on his pass blocking. With the pressure on the team to win now and the offensive line playing so well without him, Charger coaches may be hard pressed to throw him right back in there. Being the teams' youngest player (22), Fonoti still has tremendous upside, but how would a trip to the bench affect the 360 (+) pounders confidence? A tough decision to be made here.

In any case, if you were an opposing defensive tackle and have been banging inside with Kelvin Garmon (350lbs) all game long and he leaves with an injury you might breathe a sigh of relief...That sigh of relief might be short-lived as out trots 360 pounds of Samoan fury.

Back to practice...

The afternoon started out lazily, as stretching exercises were relatively quiet, a tell tale sign that the exuberant Marcellus Wiley has not returned from his sore hammy.

One observation when looking at the Mash Unit on the field is how the linebacker core has escaped the injury bug (as we knock on wood).

After stretching, the units went their separate ways to focus on technique work.

The linebackers did their usual drills, focusing on footwork, tackling, and coverages.

The Chargers put all their equipment to use today, from hitting pads to tackling dummies.

One interesting drill involved the running backs using two devices lined up, one and then the other. These devices have one or two hitting pads attached to the front, then a space in between with small armlike extensions protruding into the space that the players run through.

In this drill, the RB was asked to hit the pad (while carrying the ball), on the first device, then bounce off it, using a spin move to run around the device. Next he would hit the pad on the second device then run through the armlike extensions.

On his first attempt rookie Andrew Pinnock, bounced off the first pad, then while in his spin move he fell to the ground drawing laughter from his fellow running backs.

Showing his desire, he started over and executed the drill perfectly, drawing praise and a high five from offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. At 260 lbs with a low center of gravity, Andrew's power was evident as he burst through the device. He may prove to be a valuable addition with the versatility to be a FB, short yardage back and back up running back, which could open up a roster spot.

While his talent is not questioned, he has had his ups and downs in training camp. It will be interesting to see if he can get carries and take advantage of them in preseason games...

In 9 on 7 drills the offense is at a slight disadvantage with only seven players. This is a running drill, and with no wideouts to block the safeties, I focused mainly on line play.

The defense continued its recent improvement and once again won more battles than they lost.

One player who stood out was defensive tackle Dequincy Scott. At 6'1, 280 Scott is considered undersized to be a NFL defensive tackle. While he possesses great quickness and is at his best rushing quarterbacks on stunts, what was impressive today was his play against the run.

On two plays he was matched against RG Bob Hallen. The first play the offense's point of attack was him, showing great leverage he got low and stood up Hallen then shed the block to stop Jesse Chatman short of the line of scrimmage.

A different running play saw RB Antoineo Harris start to his right, seeing the huge hole to his left he cut back looking to gain big yards. Luckily for the defense, Scott threw Hallen off his block then stopped Harris right in the hole to negate a positive gain.

On another good note for the defensive line, second and third team offensive lines had trouble getting any push against big #97 Doug Sims, as he plugged up most running lanes on the day.

Special Teams saw Brian Sump as the sole punt returner as Tim Dwight rests his injury. Looking to take advantage of the extra reps, Sump did not disappoint catching every punt, then showing his speed returning the punts.

Alternating punting duties was the Aussie, Darren Bennett and the rookie Mike Scifres. Both kicked well but Mike had a little more distance and hangtime on his punts. Neither of them had a shank.

Of other notes, TE Stephen Alexander continues to be injured while TE Josh Norman continues to be a pain in the ass for linebackers to cover. Norman almost always is open and almost always catches it. I don't know if there is a quicker tight end around.

LaDainian Tomlinson continues to look as if he's ready for his best season yet. Since there is no actual tackling going on -- it's hard to tell on some plays who won the battle... Just because you can touch LT doesn't guarantee that you can tackle him.

Overall, the play was crisp and the intensity high and the heading in to the 1st preseason game against the Seahawks, it is evident that this team is ready for some hittin'…

The question is are YOU ready?

Will Mortensen

Will can be reached at will.powered@verizon.net

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