The Chargers took the field for their fifth practice after Sunday was their day off. It was the first day in pads for the team…Well, not really, but that will be discussed later. It was a very fast-paced practice for the team.
Now that the pads have come on, some of the positional competitions happening throughout camp will start to take shape.
Pads on, Pads off
There was a bit of a mix-up on Monday between the NFL's rules on pads. The Chargers were not supposed to be in pads, so an NFL official let general manager Tom Telesco know they had to come off. So, after an hour in them, they had to come off, and the team had to finish in just helmets.
Telesco took full responsibility for the mix-up. Head coach Brandon Staley was positive after practice and noted their schedule for the next few days.
"We're in a sequence where if we have these three-day blocks, where we'll go two days of pads, one day helmets, so it's in that sequence in training camp," explained Staley.
As far as the play in pads, four plays in running back Justin Jackson caught a pass and was met with a big hit from safety Derwin James. The defense on the sideline got very excited about the play from the returning James.
A couple of plays later, quarterback Justin Herbert tried throwing to tight end Jared Cook, but second-year safety Alohi Gilman intercepted the pass. Gilman has been playing as the third safety, which Staley uses a lot, so he showed good recognition on Monday.
"He's stood out as a guy who can handle running the show for us, which allows other guys to move around," said Staley. "We're just at the beginning with him, but we're pleased with him."
There was a kicking competition between two periods of 11 on 11, which is coming up next.
In the second period of 11 on 11, the offense picked it up slightly when Herbert found a wide-open Keenan Allen for a 30-yard gain. It was a blown coverage. James was not happy about it, so when the second team went in, he came off asking, "what happened on that play?! Why was he so wide open?!"
Some snaps later, seventh-round draft pick Mark Webb intercepted a Chase Daniel's pass, and that was his second of training camp. He has been all over the field and is now making a case for playing time.
"I'm encouraged by his performance," said Staley. "Not satisfied, yet. He's still brand new. I think he has flashed that he belongs on the NFL field. If you just look at him, he looks like he belongs on the NFL field. We're trying to train him at three different positions. He's handled it mentally. We're putting a lot on him because we expect a lot from him. It's not easy, but he's shown the aptitude to handle it athletically and mentally. He's at the beginning, but he's shown some resilience here. We expect him to continue to improve."
Bend It Like Vinatieri
There is a kicking competition taking place during training camp. It seems like special teams coach Derius Swinton is focusing every day on something new concerning the unit. On Monday, it was field goal time.
Michael Badgley kicked it off, pun intended, he was 5/5 from 35, 36, 55, 49, and 52 yards. Players on the sideline were making noise and trying to get in his head, but he hit his five.
After the other 11 on 11, it was time for Tristan Vizcaino. He also was perfect from the field 5/5 with field goals from 33, 41, 45, 49, and 52 yards. He has a little bit of a stronger leg than Badgley.
This will be a competition to keep a close eye on because as the team goes into their first preseason game against the L.A. Rams, expect the field goals to increase.
Everyone knows "The Mountain" from Game of Thrones. He was a boulder of a man, and nothing got past him. He was the ultimate warrior.
That is what Chargers rookie left tackle Rashawn Slater looked like on Monday morning. The team went through one-on-one pass-rushing drills, and he was matched up right away against Uchenna Nwosu. He was able to stop the pass rusher twice.
Next up was Kyler Fackrell, who has been making some noise so far, getting some work with the ones. He wasn't able to shake off the rookie left tackle.
Last up, this was like The Mountain versus The Hound in what was a terrible series finale, but this is about Joey Bosa versus Slater. It was an electric matchup with Slater being able to stop Bosa and hold him up.
"You want to measure yourself against the best, and Joey is one of the premium players against the league," said Staley.