Coach Norv Turner (Gregory Bull/AP)
The San Diego Chargers are missing several players due to injuries and contract disputes, but those who took the field on Wednesday looked more than ready to contribute on Sundays. Find out which youngsters are stepping up and playing their way into game-day consideration.
Stacy Thereza's Camp Archives: Aug. 1 | Aug. 2 | Aug. 3
The Chargers moved their show to the big stage on Wednesday by holding an evening practice at Qualcomm Stadium. Several players used the workout as an audition to show what they might do with expanded opportunities this season.
WRs Malcom Floyd and Buster Davis continued to make San Diego's coaches feel more comfortable about the prospect of entering the season sans Vincent Jackson.
Floyd hauled in two nifty receptions for scores. On the first, he split double-coverage by Eric Weddle and Nathan Vasher to secure a well-placed throw by Philip Rivers. On the second, he beat Vasher and made a leaping grab in the back of the end zone, barely tapping his feet in bounds.
Davis is not the same red-zone presence as Floyd, but he caught several passes near the end zone prior to getting tackled.
On defense, Steve Gregory looked at home back at his strong safety position, knocking away a would-be touchdown pass from Rivers to Antonio Gates.
Gates was denied again later in practice when Weddle stepped in front of him to steal another Rivers offering.
Ryan Mathews enjoyed another strong practice, ripping off several of the 5- and 10-yard runs that were so seldom seen on Sundays last season. Matthews did the bulk of his work in between the tackles, where he showed good vision and body lean.
Another rookie who shined was Jeremy Williams. The lone blemish on his day's résumé was a lost fumble, but he redeemed himself by beating CB Brandon Hughes on post route for a touchdown. Williams leads the race for the open No. 5 receiver position heading into the preseason.
CB Traye Simmons, who was sensational on Tuesday, had an up-and-down practice. He fell victim to Williams' strong effort, as Williams toasted him with a well-executed post route. Simmons also yielded an easy reception to WR Ernest Smith, although Simmons flew up to make the tackle and hold Smith to a minimal gain.
--WR Gary Banks, who is challenging Williams for the No. 5 receiver spot, missed practice with a back injury.
--Antoine Cason, Mike Tolbert and Antwan Applewhite all missed practice with hamstring injuries. Scott Mruczkowski (ankle) and Legedu Naanee (foot) gave their surgically repaired bodies a rest,.
--TE Richie Brockel spent some time at fullback, clearing lanes for Mathews.
--The Chargers will be back at Qualcomm Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 7, for Fan Fest.
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