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3 Observations: J.C. Jackson Stands Out, Ramps Up Participation in Practice


The Chargers returned to the practice field Monday at Jack Hammett Sports Complex, practicing without pads for nearly two hours.

The Bolts will practice again Tuesday and are off Wednesday before welcoming the Saints to town for joint practices Thursday and Friday.

Here are three observations from today's practice:

1. Jackson making progress

On the first rep of 7-on-7 drills Monday, J.C. Jackson lined up across from Quentin Johnston.

The Chargers first-round pick — who is taller and heavier than the cornerback — ran a quick comeback route before trying to use his body to wall off Jackson and make a catch.

It didn't work against the veteran, as Jackson broke on the ball and raced in to swat the pass away and record a pass breakup.

It was the highlight of a strong day for Jackson, who has been working his way back from a serious knee injury and had perhaps his best day of practice on Monday.

"The guy is working hard. Today, I think, was the most reps that he has gotten since we started [training camp]," said Chargers Defensive Derrick Ansley. "He's feeling good. We're just going to take it day-by-day. He's in a good place physically. We're just going to continue to try to maximize each day, in the classroom and on the field."


Besides the PBU, Jackson later shined in a full-team drill when he perfectly read a second-and-10 run by Isaiah Spiller to close the gap. He likely would have brought the running back down at the line of scrimmage in live action.

The Chargers are 27 days away from their Week 1 home opener against the Dolphins. The hope is that Jackson can continue making the progress shown Monday and be an impact player early on for the Bolts.

2. Fox, defense make goal line stand

Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley once again made sure his top players got solid work in Monday morning.

Staley designed a game-like situation where the Bolts starters went against the reserves while holding a 28-24 lead with 5 minutes and 37 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

The top defense faced a challenge as Easton Stick hit Darrius Shepherd for 34 yards before the quarterback hit Pokey Wilson and Derius Davis for 10-plus yards apiece to put Stick's group inside the 10-yard line.

But the defense held firm on first-and-goal from the 3-yard line as a pair of Stick runs and a completed pass only netted two yards.

Morgan Fox then made the play of the drive when he crashed into the backfield to stop Spiller for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-goal from the 1.

Justin Herbert's group wasn't able to pick up a first down but did make the reserve defense use all of their timeouts.

Stick's group then took over at their own 46 with just over a minute to play, but that drive was stymied after Fox recorded a third-down sack.

"The No. 2 offense had a chance to drive down, so there was a lot of adversity in that drive," Ansley said. "The No. 1 defense closed the door down there on fourth-and-goal and gave us a chance to come back out there, and we stopped Justin, which gave us a chance to go play again.

The Bolts then ended practice with third-and-goal scenarios that emphasized 4-point plays where the offense either scored or settled for a field goal.

"It was really good back-and-forth, really good situational awareness by both sides. We can't do enough of those kinds of situations," Ansley added.

Alohi Gilman stopped Keenan Allen short of the end zone on the first rep before Khalil Mack picked up a likely sack on the second try. Herbert then connected with Gerald Everett for a 5-yard score on the third rep.

Stick hit Terrell Bynum for a 9-yard touchdown on the first rep but his next two passes fell incomplete.

Check out the best shots from the Chargers Preseason Week 1, 34-17, victory over the Rams at SoFi Stadium

3. Dotson gets extra work

Running back Elijah Dotson was one of the biggest stars of the Chargers preseason opener after rushing for 92 yards on just six carries, including touchdown runs of 37 and 40 yards.

Dotson was then given extra reps Monday as he worked with Stick's group for the majority of practice. The Chargers announced this morning they waived running back Larry Rountree III.

Dotson also worked alongside the punt returners early on in practice, catching kicks with Davis, Shepherd and Wilson.

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