by Marty Caswell
The Chargers’ first day of practice in pads saw the first fisticuffs of camp and a few players leaving the field with heat-related issues.
Rookie guard Chris Watt was carted off the field & Johnnie Troutman walked off the field with the team trainer, although neither issue seems to be serious or anything head coach Mike McCoy wanted to comment on after practice except to say, “This is where you gotta get in football shape, when you put the pads on.”
But for nine-year veteran Malcom Floyd, the first practice with pads under sunny blue skies and temperatures in the 80’s “just felt like it was nothing.” And for the Chargers and their fans, that’s the best news of all.
Floyd missed all but two games of the 2013 season, after suffering a serious neck injury after a scary collision against two Eagles defenders in week two. But after months of rehab that had him sleeping in a neck brace, Floyd said his road back to the rigors of practice got going in March, as did the confidence that he was healthy enough to play again.
“That was a good start for me in March, just going in and being confident. It was just good to get out here with the guys in pads.”
Floyd praised Dontrelle Inman (“he’s really fast vertically”) and smiled when he was asked about matching up versus Brandon Flowers. “We’ve been battling here and there. He had his day today and I kind of had my day yesterday. But it’s just good for us to stay healthy so we can keep getting each other better.”
Flowers, for his part, couldn’t praise Floyd enough and just grinned when he was asked about their one-on-one matchups. “I’m loving it. Playing against him for six years straight, it feels good to see his work ethic in practice, what made him so good in the games. Every play, he’s running like he’s in the game in practice. You know, that’s made me a better player already. I have to be so precise on every play because if I don’t, he’ll make me look bad. He’s that type of receiver. I love battling him. He’s teaching me how to battle through hands on a larger receiver and everything. Nothing but great things coming from Malcom Floyd.”
Flowers also had an appreciation for the rest of the Charger offense.
“I want to say we have six guys in the offense right now that can break every play with Keenan Allen, Malcom Floyd, Eddie Royal, Antonio Gates, even Woodhead out of the backfield. They’re so explosive and I feel like we have guys on defense with enough depth to try and match up with these guys. If we can match up with these guys in practice, I feel like we’ll be all right playing against the rest of the NFL.”
Listen to Brandon Flowers’ post-practice interview HERE .
Vincent Brown was sidelined for the second straight day (strained calf) and Nick Hardwick was a spectator, although head coach Mike McCoy said he was amongst the older veterans that would get some rest throughout training camp.
Rich Ohrnberger worked at center with the 1st team offense in the absence of Hardwick and Dontrelle Inman and Seyi Ajirotutu continued to see reps at wide receiver with the first team offense. Moving different guys around on the offensive line is something McCoy did last year in training camp (and it paid off during the regular season) and that was the case on Saturday, with Kenny Wiggins working occasionally at right guard & Troutman at center with the 3rd team offense.
Fullback Zack Boren & linebackers Tourek Williams exchanged punches during practice. Williams smiled sheepishly and answered “what happened what” when asked about the fight, which seems to be a ritual of every training camp at some point.
“It was good day,” Williams said. “A little physical, that’s all it is. First day of camp, guys get going and hit each other.”
McCoy said he was pleased with the added intensity of the first padded practice.
“I think everyone they get a little juiced up when they get going out there in pads and that’s the way the game is supposed to be played. They did a nice job though, of fighting through it. We did a lot of good quality work today. ”
“There is a way of doing things with fundamentals, technique, communication, building a group with unity and trust and each person’s a little different. Sometimes a pat on the back helps one and sometimes a kick in the butt helps another. You try to find that balance.” Chargers offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris. Listen to his entire interview with Darren Smith HERE
Malcom Floyd on matching up versus Brandon Flowers, who’s standing out in the Chargers secondary & the 1st day of practice in pads. Watch it HERE