Here are five takeaways from Monday night’s training camp practice:
Under the lights – With four primetime games on the 2019 schedule, head coach Anthony Lynn thought it would be beneficial to get a glimpse of what “Monday Night Football” looks like in August.
The packed stands on a cool summer night at Jack Hammett Sports Complex provided a bit of nostalgia for the players.
“It felt like a Pop Warner practice,” linebacker Denzel Perryman said. “[It’s] like Monday, first day of school – you gotta finish your homework and get out here for practice.”
“I think it just takes you back to when you were young,” cornerback Michael Davis said. “For me, personally, when I first started playing football, it was under the lights – Friday Night Lights in high school – and when you’re in high school, you’re out there just having fun with your teammates, having fun with your brothers, just going out there and balling out.”
Lynn said Monday was a “situational practice.” The coaches put players through scenarios they’d see in a game, and Lynn thought some guys rose to the occasion.
“It is a nice change of pace – breaks camp up a little bit and the whole routine,” he said. “You have to play at night, so we thought we’d schedule a Monday night practice.”
Take a look through the top photos from Monday's night practice at Jack Hammett on August 12, 2019.
Allen’s “consistency” on display – Keenan Allen has been a clear-cut standout throughout training camp, so much so that Madden NFL 20 has already walked back their initial rating of the Pro Bowl wide receiver.
On Monday night, it was more of the same: big-time plays from No. 13.
“Consistency is what I see from Keenan,” Lynn said after practice. “He’s very consistent. He’s in great shape. His intangibles have actually, I feel like, improved. He leads by example. He’s a leader on this team, so [I’m] glad we have him.”
Over the last two seasons, Allen has caught 199 balls for 2,589 yards and 12 touchdowns, while playing in all 32 regular-season games.
The tandem of Allen and Mike Williams – who scored 11 total touchdowns in 2018 – has prepared the Chargers secondary this summer for what’s to come in 2019.
“Keenan’s good, man,” Davis said. “He’s good. Mike Williams, big and strong, he’s good as well. Being able to go against him and compete with him, you know you can guard any NFL receiver."
Davis focused on turnovers – As cornerback Michael Davis’ play has improved over the last two seasons, so has his confidence.
Davis’ first of nine NFL starts came on the road last season in a 25-17 Week 9 win in Seattle. Since then, the undrafted free agent from BYU hasn’t looked back.
This year’s focal point is getting the football. Davis said he dropped four interceptions last season.
“So this year, I’m trying to grab those four plus more,” he said. “I’ll probably take two or more to the house.”
Los Angeles has several players in the secondary who have a knack for taking the ball away, from cornerbacks Casey Hayward and Desmond King to safety Derwin James. The Chargers had 13 interceptions last season, tied for 15th in the league, and down from 18 interceptions in 2017.
Davis, who’s still in search of his first career INT, said turnovers have been an emphasis in meetings.
“Every morning we have presentations,” Davis said. “It’s all about the ball. [Assistant defensive backs coach] Chris Harris goes up there and shows a big presentation about the ball – stripping the ball, getting the ball back, intercepting the ball.
“And he also says that we’re defined by the way we score on defense.”
When it comes to the D, “stay tuned” – Denzel Perryman isn’t fond of predictions or bold proclamations.
When asked about the 2019 defense’s potential – a unit that features several Pro Bowlers and All-Pros, and several young players on the cusp – Perryman kept it even keel.
“Like I say every year, just stay tuned,” he said. “I’m not gonna say what the defense is gonna do, but we…I feel pretty good about the defense this year.”
Entering his fifth NFL season, Perryman plays an integral role in a linebacking corps that features a mix of experience and youth, from 15-year veteran Thomas Davis to rookie Drue Tranquill.
“Thomas is like that big brother you want to fight, but you know you can’t,” Perryman joked. “But he’s been sharing a lot of knowledge and every day I’m learning something from him, whether it’s football or just in life.”
In his NFL debut last Thursday, Tranquill nabbed his first career interception in the third quarter. He also tied for the team high with five tackles.
“He’s making plays and I told him, ‘Just keep going,’” Perryman said. “I coach him up, whether it’s good or bad. No matter what it is, I just tell him to keep going. He’s doing his thing.”
News and notes – Lynn opened his post-practice press conference Monday by remembering Steelers wide receivers coach Darryl Drake, who passed away at age 62. “He's been a trailblazer in this league for a long time. He paved the way for [me] and a lot of the other coaches. I just wanted to recognize him, his family and let them know that they're in our prayers. We're going to miss him. Darryl, rest in peace." … Practice ended on a touchdown pass from Cardale Jones to undrafted rookie tight end Matt Sokol. … The final two training camp practices open to the public are joint sessions with the New Orleans Saints this Thursday, August 15 and Friday, August 16. Visit chargers.com/camp to register for your free tickets.