Chargers training camp: Breesy Afternoon

Tuesday's afternoon session at San Diego Chargers' training camp started slowly with an emphasis on walk-throughs, but ended spiritedly with a competitive session of eleven-on-elevens. Drew Brees started with a quick pass over the middle to tight end Antonio Gates. Gates, who drew multiple defenders during scrimmages today, quickly turned upfield, but was immediately met by a plethora of defenders.

Brees was lucky on his next pass. Lucky to have an incompletion and not an interception. On this play, Brees looked in Antonio Gates direction again, but this time safety Terence Kiel stepped in front and almost picked off the ball near the sideline. Kiel had an outstanding day overall. He often found himself near the ball, and usually found himself breaking up a pass.

Brees' next play was tipped at the line-of-scrimmage for a second straight incompletion. On his fourth play, Brees found another tight end. This time it was Justin Peelle who ran a crossing route toward the sideline. The pass was on the money and the result was a gain of 15 yards.

Brees made it two-in-a-row when he hit wide receiver Eric Parker on a short pass over the middle. Parker continues to catch everything he gets his hands on. So far in training camp, there is no question who the number one wide receiving threat is. It's No. 88.

Cleo Lemon continues his encouraging play. At one point he completed six straight passes. He distributed the ball around nicely, finding the tight-end and receiver positions three times each.

The offensive-line has not been the bottomless bag that some experts predicted. The solid play of center David Brandt is a big reason why. Nose-tackle Jason Fisk, who often locks up with the center from Michigan, says Brandt can play.

"He's quite a player. When I go up against him, he wins some and I win some," Fisk said. "He combines power and quickness. He knows all the little tricks that centers use to get you off balance and get position on you. He's pretty smart and knows what block to use, and when. He does a good job."

Brandt's solid play, combined with the current uprising of rookie Nick Hardwick helps take some of the sting out of the Jason Ball holdout situation.

For rookie tackle Carlos Joseph, his afternoon session was much like his morning session. Joseph again played the difficult left tackle position, and again held his own.

The offensive line situation will get interesting when Courtney Van Buren returns next week. If Joseph continues to play well at left tackle, Van Buren may find himself in a battle with eight-year veteran Roman Oben. Oben has been as advertised. Solid, not special. He did get beaten on a pass play when undrafted rookie Robert Pollard beat him around the corner for what would've been a sack on Brees.

On defense, Igor Olshansky, Jamal Williams and Otis Leverette rounded out the line, with Steve Foley, Ben Leber, Zeke Moreno, and Randall Godfrey playing linebacker. Sammy Davis, Quentin Jammer, Jerry Wilson and Kiel flanked the secondary.

Lightning Quicks:

-Tight-end Ryan Krause had back-to-back catches in team drills. One went for about 25 yards.

-Ruvell Martin also caught two in team drills. One was on a deep crossing route for a 30-yard gain on a beautiful pass from Lemon. He's looked good.

-Lemon continues to impress. He was on today.

-Justin Peelle caught four passes during scrimmages.

-Michael Turner continued his good day. The only question so far is a questionable burst through the hole. But then again, who wouldn't‚t have that question when compared to Tomlinson.

-At one point the Chargers showed a four man defensive front with Jamal Williams and Jason Fisk inside and rookies Shaun Phillips and Dave Ball playing the ends.

-Reche Caldwell has been catching the ball when given the opportunity.

-The Chargers will have a tough cut to make at safety.

-Rookie Jerrel Pippens is listed as a safety but he has worked at corner. Pippens has prototype size for a corner at 6-3 205, and good athleticism. He's played well and is someone to keep an eye on.

Courtney Van Buren on the offensive line: "I'm not Miss Cleo, I don't have a crystal ball, I don't read palms and all that, but I have complete faith in the offensive line and what coach Hud is teaching us."

Will Mortensen can be reached at:

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