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3 Observations: Chargers Secondary Shines on 1st Day of OTAs


Day 1 of Chargers voluntary Organized Team Activity practices are in the books.

The Bolts held their first practice of the spring Monday at Hoag Performance Center, with the session lasting more than 90 minutes in helmets and shorts.

Here are three observations from the first OTA practice:

1. Big day for the DBs

The Bolts defensive backs balled out Monday.

With much of the offseason spotlight on cornerback J.C. Jackson — who continues to rehab from a midseason knee injury — the Chargers secondary showed they still have plenty of talent.

At one point during 7-on-7 drills, defensive backs had pass breakups on three consecutive plays.

Michael Davis led off by denying John Hightower a catch on a deep pass down the right sideline. A play layer, Asante Samuel, Jr., nearly had an interception in coverage on Keenan Allen before Derwin James, Jr., forced an incompletion against Allen on the ensuing play.

As the cheers grew louder on the defensive sideline, Deane Leonard then joined the party with strong coverage on back-to-back plays, including one where he tipped the ball away at the high point from Hightower.

Mark Webb, Jr., closed out the strong sequence by nearly snatching an interception off a pass that skimmed off the grass.

2. Herbert making progress

Justin Herbert was present and active Monday as the quarterback hustled around the field between drills.

But he didn't throw a ton, which was to be expected after undergoing offseason surgery on his non-throwing shoulder.

Herbert, who threw to receivers last week in Phase II of the offseason program, threw passes in warmups and in individual drills before letting Easton Stick and Max Duggan take reps in 7-on-7 drills.

Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley said the goal is for Herbert to be ready to go by training camp.

"He's on track, he's on pace," Staley said. "He's been able to throw more and more.

"He's on that throwing progression and he's working himself to training camp," Staley added.

3. Focused on fundamentals

Per usual, the first day of OTAs wasn't groundbreaking.

It's a chance for veterans and rookies to blend together while also getting back into football shape less than four months until Week 1.

That also means a focus on fundamentals, especially on special teams.

The Bolts spent a good portion of Monday's session working on a tackling circuit, as well as other special teams drills such a gunner releases and getting down the field in punt coverage.

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