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Chargers-Cowboys Joint Practice Mutually Beneficial
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Less than 48 hours after defeating Dallas 28-20 at Qualcomm Stadium, the San Diego Chargers hosted the Cowboys today in the first of two joint practices at Chargers Park.
Among the many benefits from this morning’s lively, upbeat session was having each team face different looks than the same packages they’ve seen so far throughout training camp.
“I think the best thing about today is just seeing different people and different styles in all three phases,” said head coach Norv Turner. “Once you practice together for a month you know each other awfully well, so just seeing some different styles is a great experience for our guys. It’s another chance for us to get experience without getting players at risk.”
Another bonus from practicing against the Cowboys is the added repetitions gained from having both practice fields running at the same time.
“We probably got about 30-plus reps against another defense,” said quarterback Philip Rivers. “It gets more game-like, so it’s good work. It’s good for us. It’s almost like getting two more preseason games in terms of the amount of reps against guys and coverages you don’t see (often).”
While the two teams scrimmaged against each other last year in Dallas, today’s joint practice was a totally brand new experience for some of the Chargers new to the team this season. Le’Ron McClain is a six-year veteran and a two-time Pro Bowler who has been around the block, but today’s session with the Cowboys was a foreign experience for him.
“Today was my first time going up against another team in practice in the NFL,” said the bruising fullback. “I felt like it was a great deal and we should do it more often. It gives us a different look and it’s a different team instead of looking at the same guys on my team. You pretty much get use to what they’re doing, so it’s good to go out there against different guys. It was great today.”
Although he partook in last year’s joint session, 15-year veteran linebacker Takeo Spikes said this year’s practice was completely different from last summer’s for one very big reason – it took place following the preseason game rather than in the days leading up to it.
“This is the first time I’ve ever done that, and it’s odd,” he admitted. “But it’s a gut check from a mental standpoint because you build up throughout the week, and you may even build up personal beefs, and then during the game you want to take it out on the next man. But with this being reversed, a lot of times when you played the game and you know you’re breaking camp next week, it’s hard to muster up something. So to be able to come out here and face the opposing team like that, you don’t want to become embarrassed…So it’s good and it’s productive.”
Overall, the Chargers felt that today’s practice against a quality opponent will serve them well going forward as they continue to improve and get ready for the September 10th opener at the Oakland Raiders.
“We had great energy today,” said safety Eric Weddle. “When you go up against a talented team like this it is highly competitive, and we took care of each other. Give and take, we made plays and they made plays. It was a great learning experience on what we need to work on and what we’re good at. I look forward to getting better tomorrow.”
Robert Meachem had an outstanding practice, catching countless balls in a variety of ways as he continues to build chemistry with Philip Rivers.
Mike Willie made a diving, full-extension catch in one-on-one drills vs. Dallas’ Orlando Scandrick.
Not to be outdone, Malcom Floyd made a highlight reel catch of his own with a one-handed diving grab along the right sideline.
Antonio Gates made a high-flying leaping grab over the middle.
Ladarius Green made a fingertip catch in front of two defenders.
Mike Harris had a vicious block on the Cowboys’ Bruce Carter, leveling him to the ground.
Sean Cattouse came flying in on a safety blitz to bat the ball away.
Daryl Gamble and Bront Bird had back-to-back pass deflections in coverage.
Richard Goodman returned to the field for the first time in two weeks and caught a deep ball up the left sideline from Charlie Whitehurst for a touchdown.
Roscoe Parrish showed soft hands and quick reflexes, snatching a ball out of the air that had already passed him.
Jarrett Johnson and Larry English each had strong pressures of the quarterback for what would have been sacks in live game play.
Le’Ron McClain made an acrobatic rolling catch to snare a ball inches from the ground.
Curtis Brinkley did not practice today while Shareece Wright left early. Neither injury appears serious. Read