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Chargers Camp Report: Offense, Defense Trade Wins in High Intensity Practice


That's a wrap on Day 3 of Chargers Training Camp.

The Bolts held a 90-minute session Friday at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in helmets and shorts.

Here are three observations from the third day of camp:

1. Herbert, offense show some fight

It was a bounce-back day for the Bolts offense after the other side of the ball had the edge in the first two days of practice.

On a morning where the focal point was on third downs, the competition ramped up between the two sides.

Justin Herbert led the way for the Bolts as he delivered the play of the day, an absolute dime down the middle to Keenan Allen. The throw came on second down in a 7-on-7 drill, but the young QB delivered a 30-yard pass on a rope to hit Allen on a post route between two defenders.

Herbert later connected with tight end Gerald Everett over the middle on a play that went for 20-plus yards.

And while most of Friday's session consisted of strong battles on third downs, running back Austin Ekeler loved the upped intensity.

"Yeah, absolutely. Every day is a challenge for us, an opportunity. Today we had situations with third downs, so we're going to see some pressures, see some man-to-man," Ekeler said. "Especially on third-down days, the competition is a little bit higher … because that's where a lot of money is made on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Coach Staley told us at the end of practice that we are well-balanced on offense and defense, so there's not going to be any blowouts.

Ekeler later added: "It's good. We like to be challenged. Now we had to step up and challenge them back."

Staley added: "I thought it was a really competitive practice. I liked the first two practices, but today you add third downs and that type of situation, and it's going to bring out the best in people. We had a great crowd, which brings out the best in the group, too."

2. Webb, Davis notch interceptions

As noted above, the offense responded well in the early stages of practice. But that only fired up the defense, which responded with a pair of takeaways later in the session.

The first interception came from safety Mark Webb, Jr., who was lurking in the middle of the field on a Chase Daniel pass attempt.

Staley said Webb, who played in seven games in 2021, could be a factor for the defense this year.

"He's got a lot of versatility," Staley said. "He can play safety, Star (slot defender), Money (hybrid linebacker-safety). He played the Star at Georgia.

"Really excited about his progress, he's worked really hard to get back [after an injury]," Staley added. "He definitely fits that role."

(Daniel, for what it's worth, responded on the next play with a beautiful deep ball down that right sideline that Jalen Guyton caught for roughly a 25-yard gain).

The second takeaway came from Michael Davis, who corralled a Herbert pass that was tipped by Asante Samuel, Jr. Davis went the other way with what likely would have been a pick six.

"I think what happened out there today was that our group on offense came out and, I thought, really delivered in the first team period," Staley said. "And then what that did for the rest of practice was set off a bunch of really high-level football on both sides. That's what I expect."

3. Continued special teams work

The Bolts spent more time on special teams Friday, with punting and tackling being at the forefront.

JK Scott got plenty of work, getting in over a dozen kicks to the DeAndre Carter, Callahan and Trevon Bradford, That trio rotated reps at returner, beginning with Carter.

The third phase also focused on tackling, as drills included shedding blocks before diving into dummies placed in front of a large mat.

Staley said he's been a fan of the energy and approach from new Special Teams Coordinator Ryan Ficken and assistant special teams coach Chris Gould.

"Ryan Ficken and Chris Gould teaming up, I really like the way that our drills are organized. I like the way that our guys are competing," Staley said. "I think, from a teaching standpoint, our guys have really bought into the way that these guys teach. They really fit into our coaching staff on offense and defense, and I think that is really important.

"I know that they've also fit in well with [General Manager] Tom Telesco and our scouting staff. You really have to be able to team up to put the back half of the roster together. They have a lot of really good evaluation qualities," Staley added. "Ryan was an offensive coach, so he has an offensive coaching background, as well. I just think that he has a really good pedigree. He's fit in really well with the staff. Hopefully, we'll continue to improve as we go."

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