It always makes for a more intriguing practice when you get to go against some other team. One with more talent than the cross-town rival Rams. One with some familiar faces. It's always nice to see an old face up close again like Drew Brees... Manti Te’o not so much. Yesterday’s was very eventful and very upbeat.
During one-on-one drills young corner, Michael Davis continued to get scorched. He wasn't necessarily giving up any giant long trunks, but it seemed every receiver was getting catches on him very consistently. Trevor Williams held his own against New Orleans wideouts. Jason Verrett nearly made an acrobatic one-handed interception over Michael Thomas but dropped it on the comedown.
On the flipside, the receivers fared very well in one-on-ones against the Saints corners. Keenan Allen had a solid day showing very strong hands more than just a few times, holding the ball while the defenders were unsuccessfully trying to strip and bat down the catch away. During seven-on-sevens, he made a one-handed Odell-esque type catch. Artavis Scott had himself a monster day with two long touchdowns on a skinny post to the end zone. Later in the day, he had a third touchdown during full Squad scrimmages, off a Corner fade. It was a shame not to see him get much playing time during the first preseason game. I hope he gets more game reps this week. Yesterday proved he deserves it. Tyrell Williams didn't do a whole lot during one-on-ones however he continues to be a monster and that underneath game during full Squad scrimmages. More particularly on drag routes and quick slants.
They split fields midway through practice with the Saints starting offense vs. Chargers starting defense and vice-versa on the other field. For the most part, the new look charger defense seemed to be very successful consistently throughout the day. The defensive line was consistently getting pressure on Brees. Although they seemed to bottle up most run plays Adrian Peterson did gash them for one long run.
Niguel Harris got an awful lot of reps with the first-team defense at both weak and strong side. Rightfully so seeing as he was the leading tackler in the first preseason game, and quite the surprise. Kyle Emanuel continues to show a lack of ability to cover the flats. Maybe they should use him more as a strongside gap filler/ edge sealer. During the seven-on-seven drills, a funny moment came when Antonio Gates caught a post to the sideline being hit pretty decently. Gates took his helmet off and almost hit him with that, "don't you know I'm royalty. Don't hit me like that in practice" type of look.
For the climax of the day, the teams participated in full squad scrimmages on a single field. Max Tuerk received a good share of repetitions at center. I know the initial thought process by the new coaching staff was to make him a guard. However, it appears they have rescinded that idea. Probably a good idea in my opinion. He didn't look like much at guard. The double tight end formation they run so often looks deadly thus far. And that is no surprise with a future Hall of Famer in Antonio Gates and a potential future Pro Bowler in Hunter Henry.
This has the making of a versatile potent offense. The team seemed to rest star running back Melvin Gordon during the scrimmage as Branden Oliver got most of the workload. He looked very good and explosive for a guy coming off an Achilles injury. That is until both are starting tackles left practice, then the running backs production seem to differ quite a bit. Joe Barksdale limped off the field to the trainer's tent after he seemed to get his feet tangled up in a drop-back pass protection. Also apparently prized free agent left tackle Russell Okung got a minor ankle injury. Although I did not witness his injury.
The defense had a pair of picks against the likes of Drew Brees. One from Dwight Lowery which was a bad read by Brees. The other was a tip turned interception by Ryan Reid. Praise then recovered with a fake pitch quarterback sneak during red zone drills. Tre Boston continues to be the light-hearted goofball keeping things light and humorous. Dancing around constantly and making more than humorous arguments with the referees that can't be repeated. The camaraderie seems to be very tight, and positivity seems to continue to soar despite a few early injuries.