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3 Observations: J.C. Jackson Highlights Bolts 1st Day of Camp


Chargers Training Camp is off and running.

The Bolts held their first camp session Wednesday in Costa Mesa, practicing for nearly two hours without pads.

Here are three observations from today's practice:

1. Jackson on the field for Day 1

J.C. Jackson's presence of the field was a jolt to the Bolts on Day 1 of camp.

It was only nine months ago that the Chargers cornerback suffered a catastrophic knee injury when he tore his patellar tendon in Week 7 against Seattle.

But Jackson worked as hard as ever in his rehab, especially over the past few months, to be able to participate on the first day of camp.

Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley credited Jackson's immense hard work — and the aid of the Chargers multi-layered sports performance staff — for No. 27 being ready to go on July 26.

"You saw him out there, I think that that says so much about him," Staley said. "[Director of Player Health, Wellness and Performance] Marco Zucconi and [Head Athletic Trainer] Sal Lopez, our training staff, that group of people -- [Director of Sports Performance] Anthony Lomando and [Head Strength and Conditioning Coach] Jonathan Brooks -- it took a village to bring this guy back. For him to go out there today and compete, it says so much about J.C. and our team."

Jackson's teammates were also fired up to have him on the field.

"He knew the expectations on him," said Chargers safety Derwin James, Jr. "He's a guy that's hard on himself day in and day out. I see it every day.

"Every day he got better," James said. "He wouldn't be able to be out here day one if he wasn't working. That's just credit to him."

Jackson made his presence felt right away, too, with perhaps the play of the day defensively with a pass breakup against Keenan Allen.

"There's a long way to go, but for him to be out there practicing, going full-speed, we have to ramp him up -- just because he's cleared to be out there, that doesn't mean that he's cleared to play a full game," Staley said. "We just have to make sure that we ramp him up the right way. He played well today."

2. Bolts Fam packs the house

There wasn't a seat to be had Wednesday morning at Jack Hammett Sports Complex.

Chargers fans packed the house and brought the energy even before practice began.

The juice was evident when Justin Herbert walked onto the field after officially signing his multi-year contract, drawing screams and cheers from the stands.

Herbert, who raised his helmet in acknowledgment of the support, later signed autographs after practice.

"It's just been awesome," Herbert said of the fan support. "To walk through the fans section over there and see that many people excited about football and excited about this season, we've got a lot of high hopes.

"I feel like we're going to bring a lot of energy, we're going to see a lot of energy at the stadium so I'm really looking forward to it," Herbert added.

Staley added: "We're going to try and put a good show on for these fans every single time we come out because training camp is about these fans."

3. Airing it out

The Bolts had a somewhat light workload on Day 1, mostly focusing on special teams as they eased their way into camp.

That doesn't mean there weren't any highlights, however, especially as Herbert was slinging the ball around from the pocket.

The Chargers quarterback hit Keenan Allen and Mike Williams for explosive plays through the air, and also connected with Joshua Palmer for a 25-yard connection down the left sideline.

Herbert's longest play of the day was a 50-yard touchdown to John Hightower as the second-year wide receiver used his speed to get behind the defense.

The quarterback said after practice that engineering a more explosive offense is at the top his his to-do list.

"I think one of the things is just making sure we're throwing the ball down the field," Herbert said. "Just taking those shots, we've got those guys on the outside that are able to make those plays.

"My role as the quarterback is to get them the ball and put them in position to win," Herbert added."Get them the ball ... that's my main priority."

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