Chargers training camp: Tuesday morning

Tuesday's morning practice of San Diego Chargers' training camp was marked by a shift on the first team offensive line, an emergence of a back-up to star running back Ladainian Tomlinson, the return of wide receiver Malcom Floyd, and some crisp passes from quarterbacks Drew Brees and Cleo Lemon.

With projected starting right tackle Courtney Van Buren out for the first week of training camp, rookie offensive tackle Carlos Joseph has been filling in as the starting right tackle. His play has been surprisingly steady. Today the Chargers gave him a look at left tackle with the first unit as he and veteran left tackle Roman Oben switched sides. Joseph held his own against the first team defense.

Joseph, who slid down draft boards because of an underachiever label, could be a pleasant surprise for the Chargers. He has the size the Chargers prefer (6/6, 342) to go with big school experience and good athleticism. It was the mental aspect that was in question. So far, that has not been a problem.

It's still too early to make much out of the move, but it'll be interesting to see what a continual strong performance from Joseph means for Oben (6/4, 305) or Van Buren (6/5, 350).

Rookie running back Michael Turner is starting to turn heads. He continues to catch everything thrown his way, and is getting plenty of carries in team drills. He has shown good vision, as he consistently finds a hole to get through, and runs with his pads down to make good use of his low center-of-gravity.

Turner could be the legitimate back-up the Chargers have sought to help take some of the weight off Ladainian Tomlinson's superstar shoulders. It's a role that Turner is no stranger to.

"I was not always the main guy at Northern (Illinois), you know. I've been in this role before, and I am comfortable with it," said the 5/10, 230 pound Turner. " I just want to win games and I am willing to do whatever it takes to win games, that's my main focus."

Undrafted rookie free-agent Malcom Floyd missed Sunday's practice to be with his mother who is recovering from a heart-attack. Floyd made a few catches, but today it was about the one that got away.

During full-squad drills, Floyd was matched up with cornerback Drayton Florence, who was in man-to-man coverage. Floyd got a decent release off the line, running a streak down the sideline. He had Florence beat by a step or two. Quarterback Cleo Lemon saw the opportunity and went for it.

Lemon lofted a beautiful pass towards Floyd, who ran under it, and reached out only to see the ball slip though his hands. It was a tough catch but definitely a make-able one.

With Philip Rivers holding out and Doug Flutie nursing a minor ailment, quarterbacks Drew Brees and Cleo Lemon are getting extra repetitions.

Drew Brees was sharp on this morning. On one play during full team drills, Brees play-actioned then looked 30 yards down mid-field where an open Tim Dwight beat the coverage of Sammy Davis. Brees threw a strike that Dwight caught for a touchdown.

Lemon was also sharp in one-on-ones connecting on most of his passes. He had one mishap in team drills, where he threw a pass in which linebacker Matt Wilhelm jumped up and hauled down for an interception.

Quentin Jammer lived up to his billing with punishing jams at the line of scrimmage. In two consecutive one-on-one drills Jammer kept his opponent from releasing off the line. One was against Kassim Osgood.

Osgood redeemed himself in his next go-round. This time against Drayton Florence. After the completion, Osgood held out the ball in a taunting gesture towards Florence. Receiver coach James Lofton jumped all over the receiver's case: "You couldn't get off the line of scrimmage the last time and now your gonna' hot dog?"

During kick offs, Nate Kaeding had the best day. His ball hung in the air the longest and traveled the furthest. Mike Scifres was almost as good, while Mackenzie Hoambrecker again struggled with distance.

-Guard Toniu Fonoti continues to play well with the second-team offense.

-Terrance Kiel is playing extremely well. In one-on-ones, he smothered his receiver then knocked the pass away. Did the same on a pass in full squad drills.

-Jamar Fletcher has a penchant for holding and drawing pass-interference calls.

-Kris Dielman continues to hold up as the starting left guard.

-Ryon Bingham has proved near impossible to run on, so far.

-Phil Bogle is at right tackle with the second team. Shane Olivea at right guard.

-Jerry Wilson and Kwamie Lassiter continue to switch between first and second teams.

Will Mortensen can be reached at

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