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Chargers Camp Report: Bolts O-Line Shines in 1-on-1 Drills


The Bolts put the pads back on Saturday morning.

Practice ran for almost two hours in front of a packed house at Jack Hammett Sports Complex.

Here are five observations from the ninth day of camp:

1. O-line looks solid in 1-on-1 drills

After two days without pads, the Chargers were suited up Saturday, which meant the return of 1-on-1 competitions.

With all eyes on the offensive line and the defensive line/edge rushers, it was the former who won the day.

The unit got off to a strong start when Storm Norton earned a win against Joey Bosa, and success followed when Zion Johnson won against Sebastian Joseph-Day and center Will Clapp beat Austin Johnson. (Starting center Corey Linsley did not participate in the drill).

Matt Feiler then topped Jerry Tillery before Rashawn Slater stonewalled Khalil Mack when the outside linebacker tried a spin move.

The second time through, Trey Pipkins III was stout against Bosa and Johnson recovered well to deny Otito Ogbonnia.

Overall, it was another solid day for Johnson, a rookie first-round pick who has continued to impress at right guard.

The defense did bounce back once the drill shifted to stunts and twists, where a pair of defenders worked in tandem to go against a pair or three offensive linemen.

Chris Rumph II shined in this portion of practice, getting into the backfield on back-to-back reps. He was paired with Tillery on the first one against Norton and Johnson, and later teamed with Joseph-Day against Johnson and Pipkins.

Bosa later slithered his way in for a sack and Morgan Fox did the same a few plays later. One the final reps featured a matchup of pure power, as Slater and Mack stood each other up in a highly-watched battle.

"They're both really good. Rashawn just always amazes me at his ability to sit down on power," Chargers Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi said of the Slater-Mack matchup. "The flexibility that he has in his body to absorb and transition from blocking a speed rush, and that thing goes to power, his ability to sit that down, he's so strong, but strong in a unique way.

"I look forward to turning those [1-on-1s] on every day," Lombardi added.

2. Allen leads WRs, Davis nabs INT in WR/DB battles

Keenan Allen looked in fine form Saturday during the 1-on-1s between pass catchers and defensive backs.

The veteran wide receiver won all three of his reps in the period, using his shiftiness and acceleration to get open.

Tight end Gerald Everett also had a pair of wins on his routes, and Jalen Guyton also looked solid when he was up.

Defensively, the highlight went to cornerback Michael Davis, who snagged an interception when he was matched up against Joe Reed.

Other defensive wins included pass breakups by Alohi Gilman, Deane Leonard and Brandon Sebastian. Cornerback J.C. Jackson did not allowe a reception when he was in coverage.

3. Jackson with back-to-back takeaways

Speaking of Jackson, the ballhawk notched an interception Saturday, the second straight day he forced a turnover.

On Friday, Jackson tipped a ball to himself before taking it back the other way.

He relied on the tip drill Saturday, too, tracking a pass that was deflected by linebacker Damon Lloyd in a 7-on-7 drill.

Jackson, whose takeaway drew large cheers from the packed stands and the defensive sideline, said Friday that he holds himself to a high standard.

"I've been doing this, it's nothing new to me," Jackson said. "You'll see this year, when the season starts, what I'm going to bring to the table and to this team."

4. Plenty of work in the red zone

The Bolts worked on first and second downs during a team period early in practice, but later turned their attention to the red zone in one of the final practice periods.

Both sides of the ball flashed in this portion, with the defense striking first.

On a second-and-7 play, Justin Herbert tried to hit Everett down the middle for a score, but linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga managed to picked up the pass in a sea of bodies in the front of the end zone.

Herbert responded, however, throwing touchdowns to Hunter Kampmoyer and Everett on two of the final three plays of the drill.

5. An increase in physicality

The expectation Saturday was that practice was going to be a tad more physical after three straight days of no pads (two non-padded practices and a day off).

That sentiment rang true as players on both sides of the ball embraced a bit more contact.

Joseph-Day stuck in nose in there with a tackle for loss early on, and Ja'Sir Taylor also snuck into the backfield for what would have been a solid tackle, too.

Linebacker Cole Christiansen gave Leddie Brown a nice pop on a short pass play, and defensive tackle Forrest Merrill later showed off some power to record a sack.

The Bolts didn't take anything over the line, but the juices were flowing at Saturday's session.

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