Chargers Camp: 8-13-03

The San Diego Chargers took the field donned in full pads on Wednesday afternoon. With just one practice set for the day, the team had a lot to work on. As with every other practice this week, special teams was among the drills being perfected.

David Boston started practice and was quickly relegated to watching on the sidelines after suffering some sort of ankle/lower leg injury. Oddly enough at the end of practice he showed up to perform the end of session stretches.

With Boston out one of the more intriguing things of note happened. Instead of Tim Dwight on the first team offense, Reche Caldwell and Eric Parker were the beneficiaries. During a two minute drill with the first team offense, Dwight did not see the field. The odd part – Tim Baker and Terry Charles also saw time with Drew Brees at the helm.

It wouldn't matter who was in as the defense came up with the stop. After getting modest yardage, Quentin Jammer took it upon himself to stop the first team. Jammer first knocked a ball down prompting Coach Marty Schottenheimer to say, "You had a 78 yard touchdown, you have to catch those!"

Jammer then proceeded to blanket his man in coverage twice in a row and Brees tucked the ball both times in what would be considered a coverage sack by the defense.

The second team offense took the field with Doug Flutie at the helm. The defense was again up to the task. Flutie threw a ball into tight coverage that was tipped by a linebacker and landed into the waiting hands of Cedric Henry, thus ending the two minute drills and practice.

Jamal Williams also started practice but did not finish. His injury remains a mystery.

Hanik Milligan played for most of the session before succumbing to back spasms that sent him to the sidelines. Milligan should be back to work tomorrow.

As much as it was about who left practice early, it was also about the return of Sammy Davis to the field. Davis, equipped with shoes that will provide a better cushion, was his usual non-descript self. The result – rarely did anyone make a catch against him.

Coach Schottenheimer has a new rule in effect for the team. Marty could be heard saying, "The Seattle drill is in effect, let's take care of the ball."

The importance of limiting turnovers cannot be understated. The Chargers committed three turnovers in Seattle, which the ‘Hawks scored thirteen points off of. That has to stop if the Chargers are to compete in any game, during the preseason, or in the regular season.

Baker had a nice day on the field. He was getting open with regularity and making catches all over the field. Baker, more than anyone, has taken advantage of the extra opportunities in practice.

Courtney VanBuren had yet another tough day. Omari Hand, showing flashes of dominant play, schooled Van Buren a number of times. With Offensive Line Coach Hudson Houck close by, Van Buren got a lot of little talks regarding technique and positioning. Anyone pining for Vaughn Parker to be the next guy on the block should hold off until Van Buren learns the intricacies that Coach Houck has been teaching him every chance he gets. After the horn blew, marking the end of these particular drills, Houck walked with Van Buren giving him advice along the way. Ray Lee Johnson came over and gave Van Buren a tap to say, "You will get us next time." It was a nice show of support from the veteran.

The team will practice twice tomorrow, once at 8:15 AM and again at 3:15 PM.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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