Here are five takeaways from the Chargers joint practices with the Arizona Cardinals:
Only Thing Stopping Keenan Allen is Keenan Allen
Allen was matched up with the Cards CB Patrick Peterson through both sessions and he caught so many TD passes most people lost count. He had scored at least one touchdown in 1-on-1s, 7-on-7s AND 11-on-11’s plus made enough catches on the field to easily make him the leader in receiving yards but also the best receiver for both sides. Plus Allen was going against a great corner in Peterson who was not backing down in drills and tried to get physical with Allen which didn’t work often. Keenan Allen is entering the NFL season with the potential of being a Top 10 wide receiver this year and it seems the only thing that can derail his 2016 campaign are injuries.
Brandon Flowers Couldn’t Hang
Outside of a TD bomb to Tyrell Williams on August 5th (check the timeline) Brandon Flowers has held his own in practice and showed improvement over the lackluster version of himself everyone saw last year. During the joint practices, Brandon Flowers has been burnt toast. Flowers was trailing on Larry Fitzgerald for an easy 6 in the corner of the end zone and gave up a few big plays as well. If Carson Palmer could’ve put it on a couple of receivers, Flowers would’ve easily given up two 50+yard touchdowns but he got bailed out by some overthrows. Now Flowers did fine in the first preseason game and all the practices leading up to these joint sessions but did not have a good two days vs. the Cardinals.
Travis Benjamin and Philip Rivers are getting on the Same Page
At the beginning of Training Camp Travis Benjamin was being mixed in with the second team offense and looked a little behind on the playbook. Benjamin looks in sync with Philip Rivers and his route running has improved too. Rivers even commented on how he’s building trust with Travis Benjamin:
“My favorite play of the day was a comeback that I threw to Travis in one-on-ones. Not because it was a great throw or anything like that, but it was just one of those (where) I had to throw early, the timing (was there) and he got out (of his break). Those are the trust-building plays I talk about where you need to make with a guy you haven’t thrown a ton of those to.”
Orlando Franklin’s Frustration
On Tuesday, when the teams went against each other in 1-on-1 drills, Franklin left the drill early and slammed his helmet on the ground so hard it echoed in the stadium. He took a knee and sat out the rest of the drill but did return later in practice. Whether he was injured or just got beat or all the above, Franklin was visibly frustrated. When the team returned to 11-on-11’s he made a few blocks to open up running lanes but he did also miss a couple of blocks that rushed some of Rivers’ throws. Franklin’s play was up-and-down but we’ll see if it carries over to the game on Friday against the Cardinals where defenders can actually hit the quarterback.
Dexter McCoil Earned Some Meaningful Snaps
After his impressive camp, Dexter McCoil put his stamp in some real game action last Saturday and earned some snaps with the second team defense in this week’s practices. McCoil was playing opposite safety Adrian Phillips while Darrell Stuckey, who had a rough go at it against the Titans, dropped to the third team. McCoil played most of his snaps near the line of scrimmage and absolutely dominated every tight end he went against. He has the advantage because of his large frame, when he jammed the Arizona TEs at the line they could not get a good release and it threw their routes off. McCoil earned those reps.