Another productive day in Chargers camp

The Chargers wrapped up their first week of training camp with a long, physical practice. Several of the stars were held out due to injuries – LaDainian Tomlinson, Eric Parker, Donnie Edwards and Roman Oben, to name a few – but those playing showed enough intensity and grit to make the day a productive one.

The team appears just as determined this year as they were last, and their defenders appear just as inept catching the ball. To remedy that, coach Greg Manusky had the linebackers go through a unique hands exercise, in which he threw watered-down footballs at them as they came out of their pads drills. More work is obviously needed, as rookie Tim Dobbins was the only player not to put the ball on the ground.

"I am just trying to make plays," said Dobbins. "I will be prepared (for the first preseason game)."

The secondary had their share of dropped interceptions as well. During the seven-on-seven passing drills, Markus Curry and Cletis Gordon both let potential interceptions slip through their hands.

Speaking of the secondary, it is interesting that when the group splits up, Hanik Milligan is working with the cornerbacks in coverage drills and not with the safeties, who work separately in a run-oriented scrimmage. Perhaps he is just fine tuning his man-on-man abilities, or perhaps the team is considering him as an emergency corner, seeing as they currently have a glut of quality safeties and a dire shortage of quality cornerbacks. Milligan did work with the safeties during the full-team scrimmage.

On the offensive side of things, the team continues to explore new ways to get Darren Sproles the ball. He is getting lots of work as a receiver both out of the backfield and lined up in the slot.

One of the day's funnier occurrences also involved Sproles, and came when the punt-return unit was preparing for defending fake kicks. As the scout-team punter called an audible and came up under center, Sproles came running up field and lined up at linebacker to try and defend the play. This sent the regular linebackers into a riot, with several yelling in unison, "Get ‘em, Sproles."

"He's a hard running, north, south tough guy," Philadelphia Eagles special teams coach John Harbough told Denis Savage of SDBoltReport.com this week. "He has great quickness. He's elusive, and he runs hard. He's a tough guy to tackle."

The team's receivers continue to look impressive. Malcom Floyd continued his surge towards a roster spot, but was actually outshined on the day by the steady-to-the-point-of-spectacular Keenan McCardell, who continues to run precision routes and catches nearly everything thrown his way. Those who claim the Chargers lack a legitimate lead receiver need to come see how this 15-year veteran continues to dominate.

Although the team's list of nagging injuries continues to grow, one player did make his training camp debut. Marques Harris, a second-year player who earned a roster spot as an undrafted free agent a year ago, made his return to action. He will battle Akbar Gbaja-Biamila for the final spot at outside linebacker.


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