The San Diego Chargers have Tuesday off after three straight spirited practices. Here are three players who have stood out at the start of camp.
1. S Adrian Phillips:The third-year safety made waves during the offseason program with his playmaking ability, including a trio of interceptions during mini camp. Fortunately, Phillips has maintained that high level of play through the opening of camp. He showed quick reflexes to pick off a deflected pass at the last second on Saturday, and backed that up with an even bigger day on Sunday. After Phillips used the sideline well to force an incompletion in 7-on-7s, Defensive Backs Coach Ron Milus and Assistant Defensive Backs Coach Chris Harris ran over to congratulate the safety while his defensive teammates cheered him on. Later in the day, he closed fast to step in front of the intended receiver to bat a pass to the ground. He also nearly picked off another pass with a sliding attempt a few snaps later. As his teammates roared in approval, Phillips dropped to the ground to do pushups as he was angry he couldn't hang on to the ball. The safety says he is determined to make the 53-man roster to start the season after spending his first two years bouncing back and forth between the active roster and practice squad.
*Head Coach Mike McCoy on Adrian Phillips: "His role has changed a little this year in the rotation and obviously he has gotten a lot more work this offseason with the ones and twos. All (his) hard work has paid off. He is a great example of (what happens) when you do it the right way. And he is a great guy. Good things happen to good people. I am very happy for him, and what he has done on the field does not surprise me because of his work ethic." *
2. CB Brandon Flowers:Number 24 has looked closer to his 2014 iteration than the player who struggled in 2015. Flowers explains that he is out of his "funk" after not recognizing the player he was last season. That appears to be the case so far as he looks spry and athletic on the field, and staying loose off of it. After missing most of the offseason program, training camp and the first preseason game while dealing with nagging injuries that would plague him all year long, Flowers says he now feels fully healthy. He showcased his fresh legs when he took a single rep at punt returner on Sunday, causing fans to gasp in the stands with some quick dekes. Flowers explained he had to prove to his teammates he still had the moves to be a punt returner. More importantly, he looks to be back to his old self at the cornerback position.
Head Coach Mike McCoy on Brandon Flowers. "He looked like he was 25 today so I like the way he looks. He has come back with a different mentality this year. I am very happy with Brandon, his attitude and his approach to the game… (He) had some adversity, and nobody is perfect, but it's a new year. He came back with a different mindset this year. Our entire team did, and you saw that in the entire offseason program. It's different, and I'm very pleased with the way the DBs and Brandon (have) played through this point."*
3. TE Hunter Henry –It was only one catch out of a number he's made since being drafted, but the second-round pick's athletic, leaping grab was one that will be hard to forget. Henry came up with his big grab during Monday's 7-on-7s, which was the cherry on top of a solid three days of action. The rookie has been in the hip pocket of a living legend, spending as much time as possible next to Antonio Gates. The two have shared the field on numerous occasions, including Monday with the first team during the no huddle portion.
Head Coach Mike McCoy on Hunter Henry. "He made a nice catch! You saw him catch that ball today, and that's what you saw on film. He's learning from a great one in Antonio, and I think (Tight Ends Coach) John (McNulty) has done a nice job with all those guys with how we are doing things with (OL Coach) Jeff Davidson and the offensive line. You saw on film the success they had running behind him, that's carried over to the practice field today and the past couple months that he's been here."*