Young Chargers Players Turn Heads
Young draft picks are practicing with starters
The third week of training camp for the Chargers had a familiar feel to it because former quarterback Drew Brees and his New Orleans Saints are in town early for two joint practices before their game on Saturday night.
Now since last season, the Chargers front office and coaching staff said they wanted more depth not only just in case of an injury but also so they could challenge the starters. Well, first-round pick safety Derwin James, second-round pick linebacker Uchenna Nwosu, and fourth-round linebacker Kyzir White are all making their case for starting from the beginning.
“It’s night-and-day from day one,” explained head coach Anthony Lynn. “All of those guys have gotten better and they continue to get better every week. Come Sept. 9, we’ll see where they are. Some of those guys, you might find them in the starting lineup.”
During Wednesday’s 11-on-11 portion of practice, all three of the young players were thrown in with the starters. James has been regularly practicing with the starters of late at strong safety, but during Tuesday’s practice, all three impressed. Nwosu had constant pressure on Brees, James was flying to the ball in the back, and White picked off second-string quarterback Tom Savage, which was fairly impressive.
“We always try and take those younger guys and put them with the first group to see how they will respond,” Said defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. “Today was one of those days where you put them all together and see how they respond. They've really done a good job.”
All three players have helped improve their defense with their athleticism. When they are in the game they fly all over the field trying to make plays and that is being noticed by their quarterback Philip Rivers.
"They all seem to have great instincts,” said the 14-year veteran quarterback. “You can tell that, and they really can accelerate and attack the football. With [Nwosu], [White] and [James], you see those guys flash quite a bit in practice and in the games. That's exciting to see."
This weekend when both the Chargers and Saints take the field it is unsure how much the starters are going to play, but what is certain is the coaches might play all three rookies an extended period so they get the feel of what is to come when called upon.
NUTS AND BOLTS
•During today's practice, both teams worked on special teams. The Chargers let Caleb Sturgis take seven field goals and he hit them all. His furthest one was from 53-yarder, which he got fired up about. The team's other kicker Roberto Aguayo didn’t get a try, which means he will most likely take tomorrow’s kicking job.
•Chargers had some players missing today from practice, defensive end Joey Bosa is still nursing a foot injury, cornerback Casey Hayward missed today’s practice after injuring his hamstring yesterday and receiver Tyrell Williams missed with foot soreness. Others who missed were sixth-round pick receiver Dylan Cantrell and seventh-round pick running back Justin Jackson.