Chargers training camp: Friday morning fight

Friday's first session at San Diego Chargers' training camp started with a scene that looked much like a boxing match and nothing like a football drill. Linebacker Ben Leber and running back Jesse Chatman began one-on-one pass rush drills by releasing their frustrations with a hearty exchange of blows to the head.

After a stalemate in the drill, Chatman and Leber both refused to concede defeat. They stayed at it until the frustration manifested itself into punches. The smaller Chatman (5-8, 230) held his own against the towering Leber (6/3 244). The two exchanged punches to the head with Chatman squaring himself up like a boxer. He approached it like a street fight and came out with a draw against his bigger opponent.

One thing Chatman proved in the fight was that, like Tom Petty, he won't back down. On a field where only the big boys play, Chatman made it clear; he is no little kid.

As the horn sounded, signaling the end of the drill, Leber approached Chatman and gently tapped him on the shoulder as if to say: ‘It's cool, man.' It was a sign of respect.

"Were all family and like any family we will have our fights," inside linebacker Zeke Moreno said. "We still love each other." Apparently, Chatman didn't get the memo on team-love.

Chatman, still amped from his bout with Leber, welcomed Moreno to the drill by throwing him to the ground like a worn out piece of gum.

"It's fun and part of the process," Moreno said. "Were all here to get better."

In the drills, where linebackers simulate a blitz, Stephen Cooper was king. His quickness got him past opposing running backs and into the would be quarterback each time. He's been filling in for the injured Donnie Edwards and is making a strong case that he belongs in the NFL.

Linebackers Steve Foley and Carlos Polk also won their battles. Foley, so far, is looking like a huge offseason pick-up for the Chargers. He has been stout against the run and active in rushing the passer. "This is a defense – once you learn, take the time to get the whole philosophy down –it is a butt-kicking defense," said the imposing Foley.

Polk, the most vocal of Chargers, has been coming on strong lately. He may have found his niche as an outside linebacker in the new 3-4 scheme. He's been backing up Leber on the strongside.

Lightning Quicks:

-Chatman also lined up at full back during scrimmages this morning. Mainly due to the absence of Andrew Pinnock (concussion).

-Fullback Travis Wilson, who's been out with a groin injury, saw his first action of camp. He may be a bit rusty as he got beat in his one-on-one drill.

-Drayton Florence made a great play batting a pass away from Kassim Osgood on an out pattern.

-Osgood did have the play of the morning. Cleo Lemon lofted a pass that came down in the end zone, where an outstretched Osgood was able to corral it before going out of bounds. Touchdown Chargers!

-SDBR diary specialist Robb Butler got a little overzealous by tackling a running back, prompting a yell from coach Schottenheimer; "Don't tackle him, Robb!"

-Luke Powell had the longest gain on a 45-yard pass from Lemon.

-Adrian Dingle, battling a sore-knee, practiced this morning.

-Michael Turner dropped a pass then immediately got dropped himself when safety Jerry Wilson threw a hard shoulder into him. The hit was fitting as the ball should've been caught.

-Osgood caught a 20-yard pass over the middle. He was quickly met by Kwamie Lassiter, who put a pop on Osgood, dropping him to the ground. Osgood displayed his toughness by hanging on for the reception.

-The starting O-line continues to be Joseph, Fonoti, Hardwick, Goff, and Oben.

Will Mortensen can be reached at

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