The Chargers are known for their high-powered offense, but it was the defense that ruled the day…
Training Camp Blog: Rivers Leads the Way
The heat didn't slow down the Chargers during Tuesday's practice. QB Philip Rivers made sure his teammates were fired up for the work, yelling, "C'mon guys, once they're down, make sure they stay down!"
It was a rough practice for Rivers' understudy, rookie Jonathan Crompton. He was intercepted six times in one passing drill: three by fellow rookie Traye Simmons; two by Nathan Vasher; and one by Steve Gregory, who needed just one hand to bring in the ball.
Later, during a nine-on-nine drill, Crompton was picked off again when his throw to rookie Seyi Ajirotutu was deflected by Simmons and intercepted by C.J. Spillman.
Rivers showed Crompton the proper way to lead the offense, throwing six touchdowns against just one interception. Two of the scoring strikes went to Buster Davis, a promising development for those hoping the former first-round pick will step up in the absence of Vincent Jackson.
Rivers' other scores went to Malcom Floyd, who leaped over Vasher to bring down the ball; Josh Reed, who found himself wide open; Antonio Gates, who made a sliding catch in the back of the end zone; and Darren Sproles, who spun Brandon Hughes to the ground before running in for six points.
Ryan Mathews looked strong running the ball on Tuesday, but he continues to have some struggles as a receiver. On one play, he ran a simple slant over the middle but let the ball bounce right off his hands with no defenders around him. It looks like Sproles will be seeing the vast majority of the third-down snaps this season.
While Mathews does not have LaDainian Tomlinson's soft hands, he does share a common penchant for using the stiff-arm. He used this tackle-breaking device to shed Darrell Stuckey during a seven-on-seven drill.
While Rivers and Mathews are already household names, the surprise player of Tuesday's workout was CB Dante Hughes. In the nine-on-nine portion of practice, he batted down a pass intended for Richard Goodman. Later that same drill, he sniffed out a comeback route and denied a Billy Volek pass aimed at Ernest Smith.
Hughes also grabbed in interception during the full-squad scrimmage thrown by, you guessed it, Jonathan Crompton.
--CB Brandon Hughes (hamstring) returned to practice. K Nate Kaeding (groin) is still keeping his work at a minimum.
--C Ryan McDonald hiked two balls over Billy Volek's head during shotgun plays.
--Rookie P Cort Johnson spent some time trying to learn Mike Scifres' famous backspin, which allows him to pin opponents inside the 10-yard line so frequently.
--CB Traye Simmons had a great practice with his three interceptions, but he did yield a touchdown reception to rookie TE Richie Brockel.
Is WR Buster Davis the star of training camp? Discuss inside the message boards.
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