2016 Chargers FanFest practice observations
By Nick Mansoor
Fanfest here in San Diego was a great one this year. We have a lot of talented players, and we are all anxious to see or hear how they are doing during this time of year.
At the same time, a lot of media coverage isn’t so spot on, so I took the liberty of taking a better and more technical look at the team practicing today. We have a pretty solid team from what I see. I hope we play twice as better in the regular season! Here are some key things I noticed today:
1. Tyrell Williams continues to get first-team reps
I’m pretty sure he’s getting first-team reps so that Keenan Allen doesn’t get too fatigued. I didn’t see Allen on the field too often, but Williams made a pretty good impression today. He caught a bomb from Philip Rivers in double coverage against Jason Verrett. Great pass, great catch; it was a thing of beauty. He should make the roster and be able to hop over Dontrelle Inman or maybe even James Jones in the future. Here is a clip of that great pass from Rivers to Williams:
2. Brandon Flowers looks solid
Last year, Flowers looked like he was missing a step, and it was pretty obvious. He wasn’t in shape and even admitted it himself. Plus, he was injured. He has been a standout player in camp thus far and played some solid ball today in front of the fans. I did notice that Flowers played a lot of reps in the slot, while newly acquired CB Casey Hayward played on the outside opposite of Verrett. Could they be experimenting? I hope so. I prefer to have Hayward man the slot since that’s where he excels moreover than the outside. But all in all, the cornerback corps in general looks solid. Here’s a clip of Flowers with a diving attempt to block the pass:
3. Mike Bercovici looks impressive
I really like what I’ve seen from Bercovici. I saw Zach Mettenberger get some snaps in, too. He can really throw a bullet. Ideally speaking, he will most likely be the guy to challenge Kellen Clemens for the No. 2 spot behind Rivers. Clemens wasn’t that impressive to me at all, as he was inaccurate and got sacked twice. Although, Clemens did have a few solid plays, but solid was the best I saw from him today. He did overthrow a pass on what would have been a long play to WR Dom Williams as well as missed throws during warmups.
But I really liked how Bercovici played today. He really caught my eye. He might be the smallest guy out there, but he is definitely the most mobile. He did a great job of playing the pocket and getting to the outside when defenders came his way. He seemed to be pretty accurate with his throws (even the long ones). He might be a steal and looks like a great developmental player for the future. Don’t sleep on Bercovici. I hope he gets the No. 2 spot since he seems the most deserving of it. Here is a great clip of Bercovici doing his thing:
4. Does the offensive line suck, or are our linebackers really good?
I didn’t see any great runs when the first-team offense was on the field. There was one good run by Dreamius Smith up the middle for the touchdown, but that was third-team reps. The linebackers were constantly getting to the QB. I think I saw maybe five sacks, which is promising to me, but I feel like the offensive line is struggling. Kyle Emmanuel was getting some rotational first-team reps with Jerry Attaouchu, so it looks like we will be incorporating Emmanuel more into our defensive schemes.
Perryman has been in shorts for the past couple days. Many are raising injury concerns, but he did tweet out saying that he is fine. The offensive line might be a concern of mine again this year. I hope that’s not the case and that our linebackers are really good. We need a running game this year. I do have a video of the offensive line collapsing on the right end. Safety Adrian Phillips and Attaochu crash in for the sack. And yes, these were first-team reps. It is kind of concerning to me.
5. Melvin and Melvin
I’m sure a lot of us are wondering if Melvin Gordon looks any good. He looks very agile and focused, and he is hitting holes a lot quicker than we have seen him do so in the past. I didn’t see any big runs from him, though. Like I said, the offensive line wasn’t making anything happen (maybe it’s just practice?), but he did catch a nice swing pass on the outside and beat a defender with a juke.
Melvin Ingram was missing most of practice, but he was spotted RETURNING PUNTS!!! Yes, Ingram, the linebacker, was with Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin and Craig Mager returning punts. And honestly, he looked okay. He did muff the first one (barely), but the second punt was a solid snag. You could see his excitement. It was fun to see, but I doubt he will line up as a returner.
Well, there you have it. Those were my top observations from today’s practice at the Q. The team looks solid, but then again it is one-on-one football. Preseason is just a week away, and we will get to see how they look matched up against other teams! Football is right around the corner–BOLT UP!