COSTA MESA, Calif. — The pads came off at Chargers training camp after their Week 1 preseason contest against the Rams. It could be a way to congratulate the team on a positive showing, but it may be because later this week the Chargers will engage in joint practices with the New Orleans Saints in Costa Mesa ahead of their matchup this Sunday.
As the offseason calendar plods forward, closer and closer to the warp-speed churn of the 18-week season, taking a day without pads is a necessity. The Chargers also used the day to practice common in-game scenarios that get less attention once the season has commenced; Red-zone, 4th and short, and a good amount of special teams drills.
Special team performances at Chargers training camp will gain in importance as the league moves to “Cut Down Day,” on August 29th at 1 pm Pacific time. This is when teams have to cut their rosters from 90 members to just 53 players. Players on the roster bubble can earn or lose a roster spot by executing at a high level.
Easton Stick was also prominently featured at Chargers training camp after his superb game against the Rams. It was a mixed performance. Stick was off the mark on several occasions. He overthrew, underthrew, fluttered passes downfield, and turned the ball over
The second-team offense ground to a halt when they faced off against the first-team defense. In that series, Joey Bosa got a hand on Stick which caused his pass to fall well short of the target. On the next play, the pocket collapsed and Khalil Mack chased Stick out of bounds. Then a deflected pass at the line of scrimmage.
Stick then fluttered a pass on a bootleg that should have been picked, but Asante Samuel Jr. and JT Woods wanted the ball, but they collided and the ball fell incomplete. On the final attempt, Stick was forced out of the pocket and threw up a jump ball into a crowd of both offensive and defensive players. Yet again the ball innocently hit the ground, avoiding a catastrophic turnover.
On an early drive, Mack ‘sacked’ the quarterback and then Stick massively underthrew a route and the pass was picked off by Alohi Gillman. Stick also threw an interception to Michael Davis. Davis read the play and jumped the route.
When his offensive line wasn’t completely outclassed, there were times he looked more than competent. His favorite target of the day was Darrius Shepherd. Stick dropped a pass right over Sheppard’s shoulder for a 30-yard out-route touchdown pass. Later on one drive, Stick hit Sheppard twice for more than 20 yards which set up a short touchdown quarterback run. Stick showed his wheels as he rolled out to his left and reached out to get the ball just around the pylon.
Other News From Chargers Training Camp
Derius Davis‘ speed was put on display at Chargers training camp on an end-around pass. Picked up 15 yards. Davis is finding more and more places to be valuable to the offense. As to not divulge anything strategic, he was used to convert on a fourth and short situation that was beyond impressive.
The Chargers released RB Larry Roundtree today. In a game that the Chargers averaged 6.9 yards per carry on the ground, he managed 1.9. Before cutting Roundtree the Chargers had six backs and will likely cut down to just three.
Another special teams note: Davis, Sheppard, Pokey Wilson, and Elijah Dotson rotated as punt returners.
The first team ran several successful plays in goal-line situations including quarterback runs and a play that left Gerald Everett completely open in the end zone.