The following bit of Pulitzer-Prize worthy investigative reporting comes directly to you from ChargersBeat.com, your home for completely unboring, unbiased, and unRaiderish (best part huh) Chargers talk.
I checked out the Chargers today, watched some training camp and all that jazz. Because, you know, the second day of camp is supposed to be the most important practice of the whole offseason. Seriously. So you know I had to be there.
First off, let me say that Antonio Cromartie is the best athlete on the team. The entire team. He's tall, lean, and ripped. Guy ran down Darren Sproles from like 10 yards back in about two strides during one play today. Sproles himself runs a 4.4 40! Randy Moss, you better brace yourself for a Week Six pummeling.
Second off, let me say that Marcus McNeil is one big man. He's like four Darren Sproles's. Plus a foot. Both directions.
Thirdly, one Chargers linebacker, I believe it was Tim Dobbins, got nailed in the head by a pass when he messed up on a drill. I don't know how to tie that to anything, but I just had to mention that somehow.
Overall, the team looked great. Energy was high, chemistry seemed strong, and physically, guys looked solid. There's no way you could leave that practice and not be excited. And to get you on the train too...
Bolts and Briefs
Jamal Williams was on the field, in jersey, but didn't practice. He didn't wear cleats or a helmet. It's a good sign that he didn't start camp on the PUP list, but it seems that he's still not fully recovered from the two knee surgeries he had this offseason.
Ryon Bingham took Jamal's place on the first-team squad the whole time during full team offense vs. defense practice.
Antonio Gates was in street clothes, along with Nick Hardwick, Andrew Pinnock, and Anthony Waters, all of whom were Active-PUP.
Chris Chambers, Vincent Jackson, and Buster Davis were the only three wideouts to line up for the first team during practice. Chambers was always split out wide, while Jackson and Davis both had some snaps in the slot and on the other side of Chambers. It should be interesting to see who steps up and takes over the possession WR gap left by Eric Parker and an injured Gates.
Legedu Naanee was nowhere to be found. I didn't see him in a jersey at all today, and I don't know what he looks like, so I couldn't tell you if he was even at practice. I wasn't able to grab a coach to find out what was up, but there may be some off-field or injury issue that's being covered up.
That's bad for Naanee, who supposedly will have a bigger role this season, possibly being that missing possession, slot receiver. He needs to be practicing with the team as much as possible.
Kassim Osgood—Special Teams Stud/Playing Time Complainer was moved around quite a bit. He took snaps with the second and third teams during practice today, getting time in with both Volek and Whitehurst. He's always wanting more opportunities at wide receiver, but he's going to have to prove himself. Kassim didn't do anything special today.
Supposed soon-to-be middle linebacker stud Brandon Siler wasn't lined up with the first team on defense at all today. Wilhelm and Cooper were the only guys to play in the middle for the top squad. If the Chargers' positivity is genuine about him, that will change down the road this training camp, especially as Cooper's four-game suspension looms closer.
Now-safety Paul Oliver was targeted a ton today. He played on the second and third squads at different parts of the practice, and it seems that the coaches are trying to work him as much as possible to quicken the learning curve for his position change.
Presumably he'll easily be a second-string safety, but he'll have to work a bit to lock up the fourth cornerback spot over Cletis Gordon. For the record, Gordon looked better than Oliver today.
Finally, today's Zeus Award for the biggest and best Bolt (I just made that up, but I like it) goes to Marco Thomas. Second-year player out of Western Illinois. Signed this offseason. Got shuffled around from the Giants to the Raiders to the Jets during his rookie year and earlier in 2008. I didn't know any of that until I Googled his name.
Don't feel bad, I had no idea who he was either.
But he had two awesome catches today. The first one was a tiptoe, over-the-head bomb down the sideline during a QBs-WRs drill that he caught in stride, and the second play was a diving snag underneath and through two or three cornerbacks during seven-on-seven work. Here's to hoping he gets to stick around long enough to give spectators more highlights like today.
I'll be going back to the training camp practices as much as possible to keep you in the know. If you have any feedback, comments, or experienced/know someone who has experienced a Legedu Naanee sighting, email me at ChargersBeatBlog@gmail.com.