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3 Observations: Herbert Leads Offense on Game-Winning Drive in 2-Minute Drill


The Bolts were back in front of fans Friday at Jack Hammett Sports Complex, putting in their longest day yet with a two-plus hour padded practice.

The Chargers will practice Saturday morning before holding Sunday's session from 5 to 7 p.m.

Here are three observations from today's practice:

1. Herbert shines in the clutch

The Chargers went heavy on situational periods Friday, with the highlight being a 2-minute drill to end practice.

The offense trailed 21-20 and started at their own 25-yard line with 79 seconds left on the clock.

Justin Herbert got the drive off to a hot start when he hit Mike Williams for a 28-yard gain down the right sideline to get in defensive territory.

An 8-yard pass to Keenan Allen set up a third-and-2 scenario, but Herbert and Williams connected again for a 6-yard strike to move the sticks.

A short run by Austin Ekeler moved the ball to the 30-yard line before Herbert called game by hitting Joshua Palmer on a deep shot for the hypothetical game-winning score.

The quarterback sprinted to the end zone to celebrate with Palmer as the defense did pushups after coming up short. It was a reversal from Wednesday's session when the offense did pushups after a defensive stand in the red zone.

And it further illustrated the high level of competition on both sides of the ball thus far in camp.

Easton Stick also led a 2-minute scoring drive as he got the offense into field goal range to allow Cameron Dicker to hit a 45-yard field goal as time expired.

Other situational drills Friday included a short-yardage session where it was third and fourth down with the offense needing only a yard or two to convert.

The starters split their first four reps in the session. Sebastian Joseph-Day stuffed a run on third-and-1 before Herbert hit Zander Horvath in the flat on fourth down to move the sticks.

Joseph-Day then recorded a tackle for loss before Isaiah Spiller charged ahead for a first down on a fourth-down run.

The offense then went on a hot streak by converting four straight reps, including three that came on the ground.

Overall, the offense won eight of the 12 reps in the short-yardage drill.

Finally, the Bolts practiced a 'Mayday' period in which the offense was on the edge of field goal range with little time to work with.

With 13 seconds left at the 38-yard line, Herbert connected with Palmer for an 11-yard gain before spiking the ball with one second left. Dicker then hit a 45-yard field goal as time expired.

Stick was given 22 seconds at the 38-yard line but had no timeouts. Ekeler had a 13-yard run before the field goal team sprinted onto the field as time ticked away. Dicker calmly hit a 43-yard field goal as time expired.

Dicker couldn't make it 3-for-3, however, as his 49-yard try with the third unit hit off the right upright.

Chargers Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore said the goal of camp is to get reps in different scenarios now so that the team is prepared for Week 1 and beyond.

"We're just going through all the different situations that come up in a season, whether it's 2-minute, end-of-game situations, sometimes some normal situations," Moore said. "There's a lot of different situations on a football game so we're trying to hit all those.

"You dabble in them throughout camp and then as we get closer [to the season], we refine them and get them ready to roll," Moore added.

Take a look back at the first week of Chargers Training Camp 2023 in monochrome

2. Dicker gets plenty of work

Speaking of Dicker, he was once again the lone kicker Friday as Dustin Hopkins watched from the sideline.

Aside from the four aforementioned field goal tries, Dicker attempted six other kicks in full team periods, making four of them. Overall, he hit eight of 10 kicks on the day.

In a regular field goal session, Dicker was good from 33, 40, 42 and 46 yards out. His lone miss came from 31 yards away.

Dicker also added an extra point after the Palmer score from 30 yards out.

Dicker has now made 30 of 34 field goals in team drills in camp, good for an 88-percent success rate.

3. The back and forth continues

With Friday's practice stretching nearly 150 minutes, there was plenty of action on both sides of the ball.

Some of the offensive highlights include Herbert hitting Quentin Johnston for a 60-yard TD before later connecting with Keelan Doss for a 55-yard score.

But Asante Samuel, Jr., later recorded a pass breakup on a throw intended for Williams, and later forced back-to-back incompletions against Williams in a full-team drill.

Michael Davis, meanwhile, forced incompletions on passed intended for Johnston and Palmer on the left sideline in front of his defensive teammates.

The Bolts also did 1-on-1 drills Friday with running backs running routes against linebackers.

Dalyan Henley stood out defensively with a pair of pass breakups while Eric Kendricks nearly had an interception against Ekeler. Undrafted rookie linebacker Mikel Jones also flashed with strong coverage on a pair of reps.

Offensively, Joshua Kelley had a pair of receptions while Elijah Dotson and Tyler Hoosman had catches of 20-plus yards.

The highlight of 1-on-1 drills came from Allen, who used a double move to wow the packed stands.

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