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3 Observations: Palmer, Davis Highlight Highly Competitive Practice

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The Bolts have earned a day off.

The Chargers held their third practice of camp Saturday in Costa Mesa, practicing for nearly two hours without pads. The Bolts will be off Sunday before putting the pads on Monday.

Here are three observations from today's practice:

1. Ramping up the intensity

Don't blink at practice.

The Chargers have displayed a high competitive level in all three practices in camp, with Saturday's session being the most intense yet.

That mindset was highlighted by a three-play sequence in full-team drills in which Justin Herbert threw in the direction of Joshua Palmer with Michael Davis in coverage.

Palmer tried to make a one-handed catch on the first rep before Davis knocked the ball away at the last second. Palmer responded by winning on a clean slant route the following play to pick up a sizable gain.

But Davis got the last laugh when he notched another pass breakup as both players tried to high-point the ball near the sideline.

The sequence was the cherry on top of a spirited day in which both sides of the ball won some battles, especially in a 7-on-7 period that focused on third downs.

The defense got the early advantage with Davis once again in tight coverage on Palmer. Eric Kendricks then made sure the next two passes, while completed, were short of the sticks.

Herbert and his teammates then rallied for three straight first downs through the air, with Mike Williams, John Hightower and Donald Parham, Jr., all moving the chains.

It's all exactly what Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley is looking for this time of year.

"What I've been impressed with is the playmaking on both sides of the ball. It's not been one of those medium, dull training camp environments," Staley said. "You're seeing really good competition. You're seeing plays being made on both sides of the football. I think you've seen the play speed.

"If you're a fan out there, I think you can appreciate that through three days, that both sides of the ball have been making plays," Staley added. "That's what you want, you want your team playing with that type of confidence. That's what we're trying to create here is that confidence through the competition. I've been impressed with that on both sides of the ball, so far."

2. Samuel, Jr. makes the play of the day

Asante Samuel, Jr., had Saturday's splash play when he scored on a pick-6 in a 7-on-7 session.

Samuel hovered on the right side of the defense before high-pointing the ball and racing untouched the other way.

Staley said earlier this week that Samuel will be counted upon within the defense in 2023.

"Asante is a starting-caliber corner in the league," Staley said. "He has made a lot of big plays for us in his first two years.

"I think that he has proven himself against the top receivers in the league. We've trusted him that way," Staley added. "We're going to try and keep training him in multiple spots because we know that he can play inside, too.

3. Dicker gets some work in

Both Chargers kickers now have a performance under their belt.

Cameron Dicker kicked in Saturday's practice and made seven of eight field goals on the day.

He was true from 26, 28, 31, 33, 36, 44 and 47 yards in the session. His lone miss came from 40 yards out.

Dustin Hopkins kicked in Thursday's session and made six of eight attempts with a long of 47 yards.

The pair are battling for the lone spot on the Chargers roster.

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