Weddle or not, here he comes

The most talked about battle in training camp has finally gotten underway, as veteran Clinton Hart tries to hold off rookie Eric Weddle. Hart showcased his veteran experience and ability during Saturday's practice, while Weddle demonstrated his uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time, displaying why the Chargers' coaching staff and fans are so high on him.

It was no surprise when Clinton Hart made an amazing interception from a pass thrown by Philip Rivers that left the stands on their feet in a chorus of "Oooos" and "Ahhhhs" . Rivers dropped back and launched a 40-yard bomb with exactitude which fell into the hands of a double-covered Malcom Floyd, who had seemingly made a spectacular catch. But seeming is not always what it's cracked up to be. Floyd, unable to retain possession while suffering the aggressive defense of Quentin Jammer and Hart, let the ball fall towards the ground, where it was miraculously snatched by Hart before it hit. Such plays as this makes it apparent why the Chargers' secondary allowed only ten touchdown passes all last year.

With the introduction of Eric Weddle, coaches and fans are excited yet uncertain as to how he will fit into the already sterling defense. Weddle demonstrated his yet unrefined ability while covering Antonio Gates. The All-Pro tight end caught a slant pass while streaking across the middle, and Weddle closed the gap only to meet Gate's stiff armed greeting straight to the face. Murmurs were heard among the crowd to the extent of "Welcome to the NFL, rookie."

Although Weddle caught his first taste of the reality of the NFL, he did not allow this to damper his efforts. Neither has his usefulness on the field gone unnoticed by Norv Turner, as he played more than multiple positions during his stint at Utah. A player with such versatility allows a variety of options for a coaching staff, as was seen at the opening day of training camp.

At times, Weddle played with the first team defense at strong safety. At other times, he was incorporated into what seemed to be the nickel package, playing closer to the line of scrimmage, while Hart and Marlon McCree were behind him filling the two safety spots. As a result, Weddle guarded tight ends, backs and occasionally the extra slot receiver. This flexibility shows not only his unique ability to adapt on the field and fill various roles, but also allows a plethora of defensive packages and schemes.

Weddle will be one to watch on the field because of his athleticism and knowledge of the game. However, even more exciting will be to see how the Chargers utilize him in the upcoming season along with players such Hart and the already existing dominant defense.

Lightning Quicks: Danny Murphy is also covering training camp for, posting his comments exclusively on the Premium Message Board. Subscribers can click here to read his article!

Additionally, Michael Kranzler is providing the latest news on Chargers camp at

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