Philip Rivers already feels at home in StubHub Center
StubHub Center, the Chargers’ temporary home in the Los Angeles area, appeared to be just fine for Philip Rivers on Saturday during a joint practice with the Rams.
The Chargers quarterback completed a pass for a touchdown to receiver Travis Benjamin on the first play of red-zone drills. A couple of plays later, Rivers handed off to running back Branden Oliver, who rushed for a touchdown. Later in the red-zone-heavy 21/2-hour practice, Rivers completed a pass to tight end Hunter Henry in the corner of the end zone.
It was Rivers’ first time playing in the 27,000-seat stadium, though he said he had visited the facility before.
“It was good to get a feel of it,” Rivers said after practice. “As a passer I like to get the sight lines and all your depth perception and all those things kind of situated, where play clocks are — all those things that obviously you have all of preseason to do, but every time you come in here you want to take advantage of it.”
Rivers said it felt like a typical practice a week into training camp and that several areas needed improvement.
“If we were perfect today, there would be a little bit of concern,” he said. “There was nothing alarming, like we’re in trouble, but there was also, ‘Hey, we’ve got a lot of work left to do.’”
Chargers coach Anthony Lynn was impressed with how his team finished the workout — which included hitting, but no tackling — but said he was concerned by a slow start.
“I don’t know if it was nerves or what, but we couldn’t hold onto the football,” Lynn said. “We couldn’t make a contested catch, but I thought the guys got better as the practice went on.”
The Chargers took a test run in the 30,000-seat soccer stadium they will now call home with a scrimmage against the Rams. Hear from Philip Rivers (and others) on the experience.
Defensive end Melvin Ingram “sacked” Rams quarterback Jared Goff twice, and later defensive end Joey Bosa stripped Goff of the ball. Safety Jahleel Addae broke up a Goff pass intended for tight end Gerald Everett in the end zone.
“When you’re going up against each other all the time, sometimes defensive backs start running routes before the wide receivers because they know each other so well,” Lynn said. “But to go up against an opponent that hasn’t seen you, now it’s a true measurement of where we are at and you get a really good evaluation of where we are at with techniques and fundamentals.”
The Rams will host the Chargers in a second joint practice Wednesday at UC Irvine. That one will be open to the public.
Verrett gets closer
Cornerback Jason Verrett participated in individual drills for a second consecutive practice. Verrett, who had knee surgery after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament in the fourth game of last season, was taken off the physically unable to perform list Friday.
“I’m feeling good,” Verrett said after practice. “I’ve been getting my feet wet, back again, and just looking forward for the next couple of days.”
Verrett said he anticipated participating in one-on-one drills Monday.
Former Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday in Canton, Ohio. A five-time Pro Bowl selection in nine seasons with the Chargers, Tomlinson played a final two seasons with the New York Jets.
Tight end Antonio Gates, who played seven seasons with Tomlinson in San Diego, missed practice to attend the ceremony. Rivers, who played six seasons with Tomlinson, did not attend, but recorded a video from Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego that was played at the ceremony.
Receiver Keenan Allen, who was sidelined last season after undergoing knee surgery, sat out because of a sore calf, but Lynn said he would return next week. . . . Lynn said there were a few “minor injuries” but “nothing major” after the joint practice. . . . Among the notable plays during Saturday’s practice, running back Melvin Gordon broke off several carries; Rivers threw a 48-yard pass to a wide-open Benjamin, who dropped the ball; and Rivers completed a 19-yard pass to receiver Isaiah Burse.
How the Chargers fared in their scrimmage against the Rams at StubHub Center
Follow Lindsey Thiry on Facebook and Twitter @LindseyThiry
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