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Chargers Camp Report: Herbert, Mack Among Standouts at Sunday Night's Scrimmage


The Chargers are past the halfway point of training camp.

The Bolts held a scrimmage in full pads Sunday night at Jack Hammett Sports Complex that stretched past two hours. The session was the 10th practice of camp, as nine practices remain.

Here are five observations from the 10th day of camp:

1. Justin Herbert looked the part

Justin Herbert looked like, well, Justin Herbert on Sunday night.

The Chargers quarterback led scoring drives on four possessions in 11-on-11 situations that didn't begin in the red zone.

Overall, Herbert completed 19 of 22 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown on those three series, all of which came against the Bolts first-team defense. His performance caught the eye of Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley.

"He threw the ball at a really high-level tonight," Staley said. "He operated the two-minute drill, used his legs. He's had a quality camp. His teammates, he's really elevating his teammates, too, and his teammates are elevating him.

"That's what you want to see; want to see an offense that's playing together. I think that's what you're seeing," Staley added.

Herbert led the offense to a field goal on their opening drive, which included a key 8-yard completion to Mike Williams on third-and-5 to move the chains.

He aired it out a bit more on the next possession, completing three throws of 10-plus yards, but the Bolts offense once again netted just three points.

Herbert came through again on the third drive, which included an early third-and-5 conversion to Keenan Allen for 21 yards. He then made perhaps bis best throw of the night — a 35-yard strike down the seam to DeAndre Carter on third-and-13 — that put the Chargers at the 2-yard line.

Two plays later, Herbert hit Austin Ekeler in the flat for an easy score as the offense registered their first touchdown.

Herbert added another passing score in a red-zone drill, finding tight end Gerald Everett from two yards out on third-and-goal.

The quarterback also showed off his wheels in a 2-minute drill, scrambling up the right sideline for a 36-yard gain that had the crowd going wild.

Herbert said post-practice that he likes where his unit is at this point in camp.

"I think, as an offense, we've done a lot of good things," Herbert said. "We've made huge steps as compared to last year at this point, but like I've said, I think there's a lot of room for improvement.

"We continue to build on our timing. Just being out there timing with routes," Herbert added. "I think with protections that we can continue to be even more solid than we have been. I've seen a lot of good things from the offense."

2. Khalil Mack was dominant

Khalil Mack certainly doesn't need to get every first-team rep in a training camp practice. After all, the man is a veteran of 117 career games.

But Mack made an impact on the field in limited reps in the scrimmage, notching a pair of tackles for loss while also pressuring Herbert on another play.

Mack recorded a tackle for loss on the first possession that would have been a 2-yard loss, and came back with a 3-yard tackle for loss on the next drive.

And he made his presence known on the first play of the third drive, too, as Herbert faked the handoff but had the quickly throw the ball away with Mack right in his face off the edge.

It wasn't a live game, but Mack looked ready to go Sunday.

"Khalil made a bunch of plays tonight. If you were to have a game tape of this, there are a lot of close-call sacks and rushes that aren't whistled," Staley added.

3. DeAndre Carter continues to impress

It seems as if Staley has been asked about Carter each time the coach has been at the podium in camp.

That trend continued Sunday, as Carter once again stood out in the scrimmage.

He was a favorite target of Chase Daniel on the first drive for the second-team offense, catching four passes for 41 yards. All but one of Carter's catches went for a first down, including a 17-yard reception that was the longest play of the drive.

Carter's best catch of the night came with Herbert at quarterback, as the two connected on the 35-yard play mentioned above.

Staley and Herbert both singled out Carter in the post-practice press conferences.

"It's not an accident. Our guys like throwing to him, it's been that way since the springtime," Staley said. "He has fit right in. He's an outstanding teammate, versatile player, and plays in a lot of places. Then, in the return game, he has been a stud.

"He's going to be a guy that makes an impact on our team. He is much more than just a return guy. Our quarterbacks have ultimate faith in him. I know that our coaches have ultimate faith in him," Staley added. "[Wide receivers coach] Chris Beatty has done a great job bringing him along. He's been one of those pleasant surprises for us."

Herbert added: "He's been very patient with his routes. I think that's one of those things that is able to kind of separate him from the defender. He knows when to attack leverage and when not to. He's just a very smooth route-runner. He's comfortable and easy to throw to. He's very friendly to the quarterback and he makes plays. Like you saw today, he finds a way to get the ball and make something special happen."

4. The kickers come up clutch

Dustin Hopkins and James McCourt made their kicks when it mattered the most Sunday night, specifically in the 2-minute drill.

In that situation, Staley had the offenses trailing by one point at their own 30-yard line with 75 seconds left.

Herbert led the first-team offense down to the 30-yard line before Hopkins hit 48-yard field goal with less than 30 seconds to go.

McCourt was up for the second and third-team offenses, both of which also moved into field goal range. He was true from 51 yards out with the second-team offense, and ended practice with a 47-yarder as time expired for the third unit.

Overall, Hopkins made eight of his 10 attempts Sunday. He hit an early extra point but then missed back-to-back kicks in a team period. But he rebounded to make his final seven kicks on the night.

McCourt made nine of 11 total attempts. He also missed two straight kicks at one point, but rallied to make his final six attempts.

5. Odds and ends

Here are a few more plays that stood out Sunday night:

Daniel and rookie wide receiver Trevon Bradford connected on the longest play of the night, a 37-yard touchdown with the third-team offense. Bradford accelerated down the field and gained a yard of separation as Daniel hit him in the end zone. Bradford secured the diving catch, prompting the entire wide receiver group to celebrate with him.

Easton Stick showed plenty of athleticism on a few scrambles, and his best throw of the night came when he escaped the pocket, too.

Flushed to his left, Stick floated a pass to rookie Isaiah Spiller down the left sideline that was perfectly placed. Spiller danced down the sideline for a 24-yard gain on the play.

Chris Rumph II and Jerry Tillery were credited with a split-sack on Herbert, but the quarterback was obviously not touched. The play went for a 7-yard loss.

Nasir Adderley flew in from the secondary with great coverage on a pass in the flat to Joshua Kelley, stopping the running back with a loud pop for no gain.

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