You are reading this Chargers blog because you want to hear about the players. So lets talk about how practice went.
In case you missed it earlier, I was using my Twitter to liveblog practice. I also recorded some little video clips using my phone, but those turned out to be basically worthless to watch on the computer. So I'll use twitters and videos as personal notes and do a recap of different players, positions, and general observations:
Philip Rivers is looking real good. He is clearly one of the better players on the entire team. He does a great job at going through his reads and really understands the offense. His added size and strength will help his overall game. While is seems he is still 'feeling out' Craig Davis to some extent, the two have some chemistry going. Rivers is giving Davis all different kinds of throws, and Davis is catching everything. Rivers knows his receivers' styles really well. 30 touchdown passes this year is easily within reach for him.
Billy Volek, on the other hand, is doing his best AJ Feeley impression. I think Volek is falling into the backup-QB-in-San-Diego trap. Enjoying life, knowing you don't have a chance in the world to earn a starting job with Rivers in front of you, I could imagine a situation where the drive to compete isn't really there. When Brees was here, Rivers still prepared every week like he was the starter. Volek doesn't seem to have that mindset. He is very inconsistent. All his passes are telegraphed, meaning he is staring at one receiver the entire play. Volek hit Linebacker Carlos Polk right in the numbers, and also threw another would-be interception in the endzone. I hope Charlie Whitehurst is coming along as expected. He will get some time in the preseason to prove he is the better player.
Tight Ends/Wide Receivers
Craig Davis was a highlight reel all day. The fans have really embraced him, and cheered loudly after every catch he made. A great overall athlete, he can jump, catch, run, and dart around. He is going to be an awesome run after the catch guy. He had a catch in the endzone (Rivers, in a desperation-type play, lobs the ball up into the endzone) that was simply spectacular. Davis was standing in the endzone and jump straight up into the air. He out jumped the entire defense, and seemed to float in the air for a second. catching the ball at his highest point, Davis came down and secured the catch. The crowd exploded after witnessing that play. Coach Turner has said that Davis is going to be a factor on offense, and I believe him. With the punt return job still up for grabs, Davis could get the nod there as well.
Malcolm Floyd is becoming an NFL receiver. He has put in the time, effort, and energy into developing himself, and we are seeing it pay off. He is poised to breakout this season. He has addressed all the knocks against him and is going to be a dangerous weapon for this team. He runs great routes, added a ton of muscle to his frame, is extremely natural at catching the ball, and doesn't let the defensive backs out physical him any more. He is truly a beast now; this cannot be overstated. Floyd is a monster.
Legadue Naane was doing a variety of different things on the field. Its tough to evaluate him because his role is so undefined at this point. I think Coach Turner is making him jump through a bunch of hoops at this point to really get a sense of how to use him. Naane is a mini tight end, and is going to be a terror in the middle intermediate ranges. Once he gets going with the ball in his hands, he'll be a guy who can pick up YAC by breaking tackles. He isn't a true deep threat, but thats not going to be his role on the offense. He is a hybrid player who is going to allow the offense the opportunity to give a bunch of different looks to the opposing defenses. Looking forward to seeing his progress during the preseason.
Vincent Jackson and Kassim Osgood did not suit up, but were seen walking around without obvious problems. So nothing serious, just precautionary, is my guess.
Antonio Gates is only just now entering his prime. He has still been a developing player these past few years. While he has obviously arrived, he hasn't reached his peak by any means. Its obvious that he is trying to become a complete player and is really working on blocking techniques.
There is almost no reason to talk about LT in the offseason/preseason. He is always healthy, always in shape, and is spectacular in practice. We fans are spoiled to have a guy like Tomlinson on our team. Andrew Pinnock was a nice surprise on Saturday. He rumbles along with good balance. He has quick feet and wide shoulders. He reminded me of a Jeep the way he moves with the ball. He also showed he can catch the ball out of the backfield. A north and south runner, Pinnock could turn some heads real soon. As for Michael Turner, he plays much harder than he practices. For good reason too. He is a banger and thats a skill that you don't want to unleash on your own defense. Looking forward to seeing him start for some team next season (hopefully in the NFC...like Green Bay). Beyond those three, no one else was outstanding or disappointing. Tyronne Gross and Darren Sproles got some work but didn't really do anything shocking.
(Parts 2 and 3 will be up in the days ahead. Be sure to check back for those updates!)
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