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Chargers Camp Report: Ja'Sir Taylor's Pick 6 Leads Strong Defensive Day


The Chargers got back to work Tuesday at Jack Hammett Sports Complex.

The team had a lighter practice, going for roughly 90 minutes without full pads.

Here are three observations from the 11th day of camp:

1. Taylor scores for the defense

Rookie Ja'Sir Taylor got some work with the first-team defense Tuesday and made the most of it in a big way.

The 2022 sixth-round pick provided the play of the day by recording a pick six in a 2-minute drill off Justin Herbert.

The offense had the ball at their own 29-yard line with a minute left and needed a field goal. Taylor ended the drive on third-and-10 by stepping in front of a pass for Keenan Allen, racing about 35 yards the other way for the score.

Chargers Defensive Coordinator Renaldo Hill said the team has liked Taylor's progression in camp.

"He's a savvy guy. He's one of those guys that if he made one mistake that day, he won't make the same mistake," Hill said. "You see a lot of growth in him, just sitting right next to Bryce Callahan, picking his brain every day in meetings.

"His growth potential, it's really high right now. We expect some good things from him," Hill added. "Once those lights come on, we really want to see him perform at a high level because he has the mental and the physical to get it done. I'm happy with how he's been performing."

Taylor's big play highlighted a strong day for the defense, which made plays all over the field.

The second-team defense also denied the offense in the 2-minute drill, with Deane Leonard nearly recording an interception on a fourth-down play.

Other players that stood out on defense included a tackle for loss on a run play by Jerry Tillery, who also batted a pass down at the line of scrimmage. Rookie defensive tackle Otito Ogbonnia also knocked down a pass at the line.

Cornerback J.C. Jackson nearly got his third interception of camp, but he couldn't hold onto a pass attempt to Allen in an 11-on-11 drill.

Hill noted that he was glad the defense responded to what he thought was a lackluster performance in Sunday's scrimmage.

"I thought guys played hard, but I thought the execution, the way we wanted it to run, it wasn't up to our standards," Hill said about Sunday. "You felt the energy a lot differently today when we come back out here in practice from the defensive side.

"I thought they played a lot more together, and it shows," Hill added. "We have to get those scrimmage performances, those preseason performances, looking like how we practice out here today. I'm looking for that improvement Saturday."

2. Hill steps in for Staley

Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley was not at Tuesday's practice as his youngest son, Grant, had surgery in the morning to treat a fracture and possible infection in his toe. Staley and his wife Amy were with Grant in the morning.

Hill called the Bolts defensive plays Tuesday, noting that Staley's preparedness for both coaches and players meant there wasn't a drop off in performance.

"It felt good. I usually do two-minute [situations] throughout parts of training camp, so it was pretty smooth," Hill said. "Just trying to be loud and communicate with the guys and give them the details that they need to go out there and play at a high level."

And wide receiver DeAndre Carter said the players wanted to make sure they gave an effort that Staley would be proud of.

"I think we have a lot of veteran leadership on our team that we can handle situations like this with Coach not being here and us being able to go out there and start executing and keep practice the way it's going," Carter said. "That's a big testament to the coaching staff, as well as the veteran leadership on our team."

Take a look back at the second week of Chargers Training Camp 2022 in monochrome

3. Guyton, Leonard among gunners on special teams

The Chargers worked on punt drills Tuesday, with gunners going full speed to try and simulate game action as much as possible.

Jalen Guyton and Leonard were among the first players taking reps for gunners on punt coverage, with Joshua Palmer, Taylor, JT Woods and Maurice Ffrench also taking reps.

After practice, Palmer spoke about making the most of his opportunity there.

"Doing what I have to do to help the team. That's pretty much it," Palmer said.

"It's like a Go route, except I don't have to worry about getting open," PaImer added with a laugh. "I just have to run straight and fast as I can."

In other special teams news, Dustin Hopkins and James McCourt were both perfect on their three field goal attempts Tuesday. Both players were good from 33, 43 and 51 yards.

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