The tempo was solid as the Chargers practiced in shells on Thursday afternoon. The defense and offense were both amped up and the result was a small skirmish.
Courtney Van Buren and Derrick Robinson
slapped heads after one particular play. Swears were exchanged as well as a few head slaps before it was broken up. Nothing further transpired as drills commenced shortly thereafter.
"We had a pretty good workout here today," head coach Marty Schottenheimer said of Thursday's practice, the only one of the day. "We are in a position to keep these guys legs fresh."
Danny Farmer batted a pass in the middle of the field that Stephen Cooper picked off. Linebackers' coach Greg Manusky offered Farmer a hearty congratulations for his efforts.
"I just tried to stay focused on my assignment, take care of my responsibility really," Cooper said of his interception.
Cleo Lemon – he of the best arm of the quarterback crop – aired it out near the end of practice. He sailed a ball forty yards down the field to Carl Morris for a completion between Quentin Jammer and Clinton Hart. Morris got behind both players on his post route and Lemon delivered the strike.
Jamar Fletcher just missed picking off Rivers – what would have been the second of the day – when he read a flag route and stepped in front of the receiver. It bounced off his hands for an incompletion.
Rivers was harassed on most of his drills by the defense – even though they were in shells. Several times he had to pull the ball down and run or call the play dead.
"I felt pretty comfortable in what we are doing," Rivers said on his progress from last year. "A few checks here and there."
Kickoffs were handled by Nate Kaeding – an effort to get him more involved with the rest of the team and not just working out on his own. On one of those kicks, the unit was offsides which prompted a flag and a few words from head coach Marty Schottenheimer.
"Look at the ball and you won't be offsides," Schottenheimer said. "The net guy offsides will have a 100-thousand dollar fine."
Jammer picked off Rivers during the two minute drill. It was third and long from the 35 yard line and Rivers had less than twenty seconds to go in the drill. He tried to hit a receiver on the right sideline in double-coverage and Jammer was in position to bat the ball and then catch it on the way down.
There was some discussion as to whether he was in bounds but the drill ended.
"I had to redeem myself," said Jammer. "I dropped a pick earlier in the practice and, you know, you go to the sidelines after dropping a pick. And you got all your buddies ridiculing you over there, so I had to make up for it."
Darren Sproles showed his juking ability with a move on Drayton Florence that left the corner dusted. It had both the offense and defense "ooh"-ing and "ahh"-ing. Minutes later, Rivers delivered a strike to Sproles over the linebacker and in front of the corners but Sproles dropped the ball as the defense beared down. It appeared he was a little scared of making the catch because of the hit that would have followed. Sproles tried to make an acrobat move instead, spinning just as the ball hit his hands. Unfortunately the spin began a second too soon.