Chargers camp: More questions unfold

Robb Butler

Jamar Fletcher picks another pass! In what is becoming an epidemic at San Diego Chargers camp, Fletcher again made a play on a ball. His theft on the pass came off a ball thrown by Cleo Lemon. Not to be outdone, Drayton Florence laid some wood on one of the running backs later in the same drill. He jarred the ball loose and it was picked up by the defense.

  • There is one throw that usually defines a day and Phillip Rivers had that toss on Thursday. After dropping a beautifully thrown pass over the shoulder of Vincent Jackson, which the receiver let slip through his fingers, Rivers came back to hit Reche Caldwell on a curl. Caldwell had his man beat and Rivers fired his pass in high. Caldwell went up for the reception, leaving himself open to get nailed by the oncoming defender. It was the type of pass that gets a receiver maimed.
  • Speaking of Jackson, his ability to create separation in his route running is earning the praise of his coaches.

    The one problem has been inconsistent hands. It was thoroughly enjoyable to watch him make a diving catch on a Rivers pass but the drops and just missed are part of the growth process. Once he catches those passes with regularity, he will be ready for real Division-I football.

    "I am still learning the offense and getting in the groove," Jackson admitted. "As we get through this training camp I should be moving up and seeing some time."

  • Put me on the Scott Mruczkowski bandwagon. The seventh round pick has a fire in his belly and has been one of the better linemen to take the field on a daily basis.

    He again neutralized the opposition in one-on-one pass rushing drills and has been an overall menace to the defense.

    "I was really just starting to get comfortable at guard when I had to make the transition to center," Mruczkowski said of his college musical chairs along the line. "It helped me learn two positions. I love playing guard and pulling out to hit people."

  • The Shawne Merriman watch inevitably continues.

    Merriman is looking more and more comfortable rushing the passer. He put a nice outside move on Carlos Joseph during 9-on-9 drills and got in to touch Cleo Lemon. His tenacity is evident. Dropping back in coverage was a little bit foreign to him. He was exposed to it much more on Thursday and looked lost at times.

  • The safety battle hasn't netted quite the results many had hoped. If the season began today, Jerry Wilson would be the starter. Bhawoh Jue hasn't shown he has the skills necessary to compete at the position and Clinton Hart has been getting most of his reps at strong safety.

    The problem for Jue is in his explosion up the field. When backpedaling, his stance remains too upright which causes him to lose steps in transition. Hart seems to have the athleticism but is behind Kiel. Wilson may lack the speed, but he has the ability to make decisive moves with his transition and can react to the ball much quicker.

    One player to watch is Robb Butler who earned mention from the coach and has been reading and reacting to the ball well. Butler, you may recall, showed his athleticism on the scout team a year ago when he simulated playing Atlanta's Michael Vick. He is also listed second on the depth chart at kickoff returner. The former wide receiver, entering his third year as a safety, has the size and speed to play the position but may be a bit raw to take on the quarterback role of the still young secondary.

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