Secondary Outshines the Offensive Stars

The lights shining on Chargers Park Wednesday night added a game-like ambiance to camp, but a strong defensive showing dimmed the lights of the offensive stars. Players warmed up their wrists with a lengthy autograph session. The chaos of the swarming masses made it look like this practice would be for the fans as much as the players, who were engrossed with the lights, cameras and crowd.

It seems fans have yet to climb on the Eric Weddle bandwagon, as he scarcely drew a crowd during the autograph session. San Diego will climb onboard once the strong safety demonstrates his ability to consistently be in position to make plays. Center Nick Hardwick showed his ham side as he played up to the cameras.

The fullbacks got some face time with the linebackers for a spirited blitz pick-up session. Fifteen-year veteran Lorenzo Neal went up against rookie linebacker Brandon Siler, whose crafty moves allowed him to best the three-time Pro Bowler.

Antwan Applewhite looked overpowering in this session. He used a vast arsenal of pass-rushing moves, showing speed and agility in his battle against running back Tyronne Gross, who has a year of experience on the former Aztec. The outside linebacker demonstrated his swift tempo again when he faced fellow rookie Reggie Merriweather, who came up with a respectable dig.

Brandon Manumaleuna, Kelly Griffeth, T.J. Cottrell and Andrew Pinnock also stood out in this session, while rookie Scott Chandler had a disastrous showing.

In his second day in a Chargers uniform, San Diego did not waste anytime getting rookie Zach Latimer in on the one-on-ones as well. Latimer, a linebacker out of the University of Oklahoma was signed Tuesday.

The Chargers have also signed wide receiver Onrea Jones from Hampton. He looked quick in today's practice but will have some catching up to do.

Physical rookie cornerback Paul Oliver should hit the locker room with an added sense of belonging and confidence. His defense against wide receiver Craig Davis was spot on, resulting in an incomplete pass. In the 11-on-11 drills, Oliver shutdown receiver Greg Camarillo. During seven-on-sevens, Oliver touched up Darren Sproles before the elusive back could take it the distance.

Drayton Florence also stepped his game when he cut in front of Davis to break up a pass by Philip Rivers during a full-squad scrimmage.

The ten-game starter who complained of knee pain at Tuesday's practice was back on the field. Jacques Cesaire lost his helmet during an 11-on-11 session, but other than that looked fine.

One fringe player making a strong push for a roster spot is Jyles Tucker. During a live scrimmage at the end of practice, he sniffed out a draw play and recorded a 10-yard sack on consecutive plays.

Lightning Quicks: Michael Kranzler is providing breaking news from Chargers camp at

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