Chargers Minicamp Day One Morning Session

Another sunny day in San Diego and on Friday it brought the Chargers out of their shelter and into the spotlight. All eyes were focused on Philip Rivers and Roman Oben as many got their first look at the pair. Then there were the old faithfuls, players who just have to watch as they make plays. In the morning session, there were plenty of plays and some cause for concern while other plays brought elation.

The most noticeable trend in the morning practice was a few botched balls. From the center to quarterback snap to the handoff to the running back, the offense is still trying to gel with all its parts.

At one point, after rookie Nick Hardwick botched a snap he ripped his gloves off and tossed them aside like a dirty rag.

A handoff from Doug Flutie to Leon Johnson went awry and it was unclear whether the center to quarterback exchange started the chain reaction. What did happen was Ben Leber scooping up the ball and taking it the distance to the cheers of the defense.

Speaking of which, the defense was far more vocal today than last year. They seem to have an air about them this season and the voices are coming from several different places.

Carlos Polk stripped Calvin Murray of the ball as the play was ending, teaching him a valuable lesson to keep the ball tight and get it to a coach. Murray was able to recover it but the moment was not lost on the rookie or the coaching staff. Earlier in the session it was Vernon Fox picking on the rookie, but Murray held onto the ball during that exchange.

Jamar Fletcher looked quick and agile on the field. During one-on-ones, Fletcher broke up a pass to Kassim Osgood by jumping in front of the route and laying out to get a hand on the ball.

One of the bright spots of camp was seeing an out pattern actually work. Philip Rivers was throwing the ball with some zip and was able to hit his targets on the out patterns, putting the ball where only his receivers could catch the ball. Rivers was a little erratic on the deep ball, throwing a few that went 40 plus yards. His first attempt was short but he came back with a tight spiral on the next one and landed just inside the out of bounds marker for a completion.

Rivers did have a poorly thrown ball to Antonio Gates on one particular drill and after the throw said, "Come on Gates" but it was clearly uncatchable. Rivers did, however, find Gates and the rest of the tight ends several times just over an outstretched linebackers arm.

Malcom Floyd has some of the better catches on the afternoon. Although the reps were down for the rookies, Floyd made a great catch on the sidelines, batting a very poorly thrown ball over his head up into the air and catching it as he fell. He had the presence of mind to keep his feet in bounds on the play. Floyd did miss a pass, pictured in this story, as it went through his hands and fell to the ground. He was unhindered by a defender on the play.

Floyd also beat Quentin Jammer on a play where he was able to go up and get inside position on Jammer to come down with the ball. Jammer was subsequently yelled at by the coaching staff.

Jammer did come back and make some terrific jams at the line to throw a variety of receivers off their routes, most noticeably against Osgood.

Although Andrew Pinnock seemed to be in better shape and looked very good running the ball and making cutbacks, he ended the day with two consecutive dropped balls.

Drayton Florence seems to have toned his aggressiveness down a tad. While he still takes any opportunity to bump a player in a route, he stayed with his assignment far better today and on a play he was beat and had his back to the ball, Florence threw his hands up and broke up the play, showing good makeup speed.

Tim Dwight is fast. Ok, everyone knew that. He looks very sharp and is really coming out of his stance with authority. His burst off the line is making it tough for others to stick with him. He did miss one easy catch from Rivers that would have gone the distance as he created separation from the defensive backs. Minus that play, he was dead on all day.

Eric Parker is faster. Parker blew by Sammy Davis and took advantage of any corner that did not have fluid hips to make the turn and run with him. While not official, he looks ten pounds heavier this season. Davis, coincidentally, did not look like he gained much weight.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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