The Chargers conducted their first public practice Wednesday at Qualcomm. It was a defensively-dominated affair, but players on both sides of the ball had their moments.
- On offense, the unique chemistry between QB Philip Rivers and WR Vincent Jackson was on full display. This is their fifth season working together and they have developed a mutual understanding and uncanny sense of anticipation.
On Wednesday, Rivers hit Jackson on a couple fade routes that left defenders with no chance to make a play. The pair also hooked up on a few corner routes deep down the field.
Last season, Jackson paced the NFL in yards per catch amongst receivers with at least 50 receptions (18.6 yards). He looks primed to repeat that feat in 2009.
- On defense, Cletis Gordon stood out with an aggressive performance. He broke up three passes during the competitive portions of practice, including a near interception at the goal line during a seven-on-seven drill.
Gordon was playing physical defense and exploding out of his breaks. His confidence issues have been well documented, but he looked plenty sure of himself on Wednesday. If he maintains that high level of play, he'll have no problem holding off fifth-round pick Brandon Hughes.
Gordon was not the only defender jumping passing routes. Several defenders corralled impressive interceptions, including Quentin Jammer and Clinton Hart during a goal-line drill, as well as Shaun Phillips in a two-minute segment.
- On special teams, an interesting development occurred: RB Michael Bennett looked pretty comfortable covering punts. Although the drills were run at three-quarter speed, Bennett's willingness to contribute on special teams may go a long way towards determining his future with the team.
Bennett is competing with fourth-round pick Gartrell Johnson for the third running back position. If Bennett hopes to win the post and stay active on game days, he'll need to find ways to contribute in other areas of the game, since LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles will hog the touches on offense.
WR Buster Davis
--LB James Holt enjoyed a strong practice session on Wednesday, attacking down hill and standing up runners at the point of attack. Holt, an outside linebacker at Kansas, is making a smooth transition to the inside in San Diego. Read More...
--WR Buster Davis was air-boxing with Shaun Phillips prior to Wednesday's practice. Much to the joy of the fans in attendance, Davis was not injured in the exchange. Other sideline antics included a karate showdown between Antonio Cromartie and Quentin Jammer.
--LB Jyles Tucker went down in a heap after getting caught up in traffic, but was able to walk off the field under his own power.
--Did you get a chance to attend Wednesday's practice? Share your observations and learn those of other readers inside the message boards.
Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.