Chargers Friday morning camp: Sounds of the game

A visitor dropped by for ten minutes of practice. The LAPD. Circling overhead in their helicopter one would have thought they were looking for a member of the San Diego Chargers. Perhaps it was Philip Rivers – still missing – and the copter peeled off to search elsewhere for the missing quarterback.

The entire morning practice was laced with noise. From the construction going on in the background to the X-Games announcer testing the mike – it works. Perhaps it was for the best with only 100 or so fans on to witness the event on Friday. They have yet been able to simulate any type of game noise. While Dallas Cowboys camp packs in the numbers, the Chargers get barely a whisper.

For the fans in attendance, they get a feel for the game as the coaches can be overheard. A butt chewing takes center stage.

One player who is regularly feeling the brunt of the blows is Ryan Krause, a rookie tight end out of Nebraska-Omaha. A sixth round draft pick, Krause is getting coached up by Assistant Head Coach and Tight Ends Coach Tim Brewster.

Last year Coach Brewster targeted Antonio Gates with his assault and look how that turned out.

His new player of affection is clearly Krause.

"You caught him," Brewster said to Krause after a lazy block where the tight end waited for a linebacker to come at him before attempting to block him.

"You caught him, that is all you did," Brewster repeated with his arms spread in a bear hug motion. "Come up and strike a blow!"

It is clear that blocking is still something Krause must work on. He is tentative in his approach and the rookie realizes it is something he must excel at.

"The only thing I have to work on is blocking," Krause admitted. "I was always used to chop blocking or cracking on linebackers. Now I (am) blocking defensive ends and blocking linebackers head on. I am a fullback, a receiver and a tight end."

His progression, however, has been evident since he first laced up during coaching sessions and mini-camp. Bad routes and dropped passes have turned into precision and sure hands.

It could be the exposure to training camp, getting over the initial jitters.

The results are becoming evident on the field. Krause was a focal point for Cleo Lemon on Friday morning, catching a few passes just inside the hash marks. He has not gotten deep much – but one step at a time.

"I believe that I can really dominate the linebackers in route running because I am so used to going against fast corners," Krause said. "There are fast linebackers too, big physical guys, but I think I can put a couple of moves on them and get some separation more than I could on a cornerback."

It is one of the reasons the Chargers targeted Krause. They believed with his size, around 240 pounds, that he could easily make the transition to tight end from his former wide receiver spot. And with his speed, he can exploit the underneath routes that linebackers cover – similar to the role Josh Norman has held.

If he continues his progression as preseason draws near, Krause could be the man they turn to when they need that critical third down reception.

En-lightning news:

Joe Germaine, solid in his debut at camp, was watching most of practice on Friday morning. He handled running drills and the first snap between Hardwick and Germaine smelled turf – a botched snap. Germaine ran the rest of the drill and only attempted two passes during red zone drills, both completions.

Tim Dwight, handling punts along with Eric Parker and Kevin Dyson, dropped two on the day. One he recovered quickly but the second time he dropped a punt he did not even make a play for it as it went through his hands and bounced off his foot, shooting back towards the coverage team.

Nick Hardwick tweaked his left shoulder and was tended to near the end of practice. He is fine but was held out from the rest of the drills.

Jason Fisk had his ankle stepped on but when asked if he was fine he walked back into the huddle and trudged on. He stepped a little gingerly at first but still had his leverage.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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