The Chargers hosted Fan Fest on Saturday, which means approximately 18,000 (reported) fans descended upon Qualcomm Stadium looking to have their hopes and dreams for the 2016 season validated by a pre-season practice. I know, it sounds even more ridiculous in writing than it does in practice, but such is life for football starved fans in August - myself included. Here are five takeaways from today's practice...
Lacking in tempo
First of all, nothing about this practice screamed "organized", "focused", or even "sense of urgency". The fans who entered the stadium at 10am for what was supposed to be a 10:30 start to a two-hour practice were treated to nearly an hour of special teams drills, which is a nice way of saying we watched Drew Kaser and Kasey Redfern punt for 60 minutes while the players we came to see took their sweet time making their way to the field. Once they did get to the field, the players walked between drills and eased their way through 7-on-7's before getting to offense vs defense. There was no tempo, no urgency, nothing. This has been the case in both practices I've attended to date.
Rivers is Rivers, let's just hope he doesn't get hurt.
Zack Mettenberger is not an NFL QB. I would usually expand on this point, but I have already wasted too many words on this bum; enough said.
Mike Bercovici looked surprisingly strong today. He showed command of the huddle, chemistry with his receivers, a feel for the pocket, and the ability to throw accurately on the move while working with the 2's and 3's; all things Mettenberger struggled mightily with. His best throw came on a seam route to Isaiah Burse on which he exhibited impressive anticipation and touch. Good day for the former Sun Devil, who just might make me eat my words.
Tyrell Williams is the real deal; period, the end. The man some have nicknamed "Tyrell Moss" had his best play in 11-on-11 when he stretched Jason Verrett vertically down the near sideline and split #22 and Addae for a catch on a perfectly thrown jump ball from Rivers. He has arguably been the story of camp and should provide some big play ability this season. The man just stands out no matter who is matched up with.
It's hard to be anything but impressed with James Jones. He's so smooth and just knows how to get open, making plays no matter who lines up opposite him. I would expect him to play quite a bit, but his most important contributions may well come in the form of the impact he has on young receivers like Williams and Isaiah Burse in terms of learning their craft.
Fans of Javonte Herndon and Dontrelle Inman will probably be disappointed when the final cuts are made. Herndon hasn't dressed for days and Inman has had a hard time getting open. With Jones on board and players like Williams, Burse and Reeves enjoying good camps, Herndon and Inman may be on the outside looking in.
For what ever reason, Ryan Carrethers continues to run with the third team defense - behind Damian Square. He isn't injured and he has been eating the third team OL alive in practice, but he just can't seem to work his way up the depth chart. The Chargers have yet to carry more than two nose tackles since Telesco and McCoy have been here, so at least for the moment the big man seems to be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to making the 53. Such a waste.
Even with Denzel Perryman not dressing for practice again, there is a lot to be excited about with the ILB corps.
Jatavis Brown continues to impress in his snaps with the first team, and did so again today when he ran step for step with Branden Oliver as he ran a wheel route down the far sideline, ultimately reaching in and stripping the ball away from Oliver before he could complete a touchdown catch on a perfectly thrown ball from Mettenberger.
Meanwhile, Joshua Perry received snaps with the 2's and the 3's today, showing good playmaking ability versus the run and calling all of the defensive plays for the third team defense. He looks like a budding leader on this defense and figures to provide real value on special teams as a rookie.
Well, that just about does it for today. I hope everyone enjoyed the write-up, please feel free to ask questions or comment in the comment section below...