Talk­ing trash is part of the drill at camp

Los Angeles Times - - NFL - By Dan Woike dan.woike@la­times.com Twit­ter: @DanWoikeS­ports

The rap mu­sic that bumps through the speak­ers sur­round­ing the Charg­ers’ prac­tice field at the Jack Ham­mett Sports Com­plex in Costa Mesa has been edited for con­tent.

Charg­ers cor­ner­backs and receivers have not.

The jaw­ing be­tween some of the team’s best trash talk­ers con­tin­ued to ramp up Mon­day with Keenan Allen and the rest of the wide­outs out­per­form­ing the de­fen­sive backs. In the camp’s first prac­tice, the cor­ner­backs and safeties out­per­formed the of­fense.

“We’re all so com­pet­i­tive,” cor­ner­back Casey Hay­ward said. “The wide receivers and the DBs, we’re prob­a­bly the two most com­pet­i­tive groups on the field. When we’re go­ing one-onone, we want to win bad.

“And, if we win, we trash talk the rest of the day.”

It’s eas­i­est to be en­am­ored with the Allen-Hay­ward, Tyrell Wil­liams-Craig Mager and other cor­ner­back-wide­out bat­tles. With the team not wear­ing pads un­til Tues­day, the best and truest eval­u­a­tions can be made on the out­side in those one-on-ones.

“It doesn’t change for us — pads or no pads,” wide re­ceiver Travis Ben­jamin said.

The com­pe­ti­tions will get even tougher when cor­ner­back Ja­son Ver­rett comes off the phys­i­cally un­able to per­form list, giv­ing the receivers two Pro Bowl cor­ners (Hay­ward made the Pro Bowl last sea­son) to test them­selves against. Coach An­thony Lynn said Sun­day that Ver­rett, who is re­cov­er­ing from a knee surgery, could come off the PUP list in a cou­ple of weeks.

While the team waits for Ver­rett to re­turn, com­pe­ti­tion ev­ery­where else is sched­uled to pick up. Lynn said he ex­pects to have to try to dial back his play­ers’ in­ten­sity af­ter an off­sea­son of wait­ing for con­tact.

“We’ll have to tem­per that,” Lynn said. “I read a stat be­fore I be­came a head coach that new head coaches have a 20% higher in­jury rate. I think a lot of that is be­cause guys are try­ing to im­press the new coaches.”

That ex­tra ag­gres­sion, at least be­tween the of­fen­sive and de­fen­sive lines, will be wel­come. Lynn has fre­quently ad­mit­ted that it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to eval­u­ate those play­ers when the team prac­tices in shirts and shorts.

Still, even with the mu­sic play­ing and the pads and hel­mets crack­ing, you’ll be able to hear Hay­ward and Allen jaw­ing at each other.

“I em­brace it,” Hay­ward said of the trash talk. “We’re go­ing to be back out here to­mor­row with pads on. They’re go­ing to have to em­brace it ... be­cause we’re go­ing to come ready to play.”

OK to sup­port LT?

The Sport­ing News, cit­ing un­named sources, re­ported be­fore Mon­day’s prac­tice that Lynn was block­ing Charg­ers vet­er­ans Philip Rivers and An­to­nio Gates from at­tend­ing LaDainian Tom­lin­son’s Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame in­duc­tion cer­e­mony Satur­day.

Lynn de­nied the re­port, though he said any de­ci­sion about at­tend­ing would be made jointly.

“I’ve talked to Philip,” Lynn said. “I’ve talked to An­to­nio. I even talked to LT. We’re all on the same page. At the end of the day, we’re go­ing to make the best de­ci­sion for our foot­ball team, and that’s it.”

The Charg­ers have a prac­tice sched­uled with the Rams on Satur­day at 4:30 p.m. at the StubHub Cen­ter. Rivers told NFL Network’s Alex Flan­ni­gan that he wouldn’t be at­tend­ing Tom­lin­son’s in­duc­tion.

Rivers said he wasn’t blocked by Lynn, though the coach was “adamant” about want­ing Rivers at prac­tice, Flan­ni­gan re­ported.

Lynn said no fi­nal de­ci­sion had been made.

“Those guys are torn a lit­tle bit,” he said, “be­cause we’re hav­ing our first prac­tice in StubHub ... and they want to be there with their team­mates.”

Notes

For the sec­ond prac­tice in a row, For­rest Lamp and Dan Feeney took reps with the first-team of­fen­sive line, though not at the same time. Feeney’s reps came at cen­ter and Lamp’s at right guard. … Un­drafted rookie line­backer James On­wualu, a team­mate of sev­enth-round pick Isaac Rochelle at Notre Dame, also got first-team reps in passing sit­u­a­tions. On­wualu cov­ered Allen on a route and forced an in­com­ple­tion, caus­ing the de­fen­sive side­line to cheer. … Run­ning back Melvin Gor­don broke through the line and ran away from the defense for what looked like an easy score be­fore un­drafted cor­ner­back Michael Davis chased him down from be­hind, strip­ping the ball. … Un­drafted line­backer Nigel Har­ris in­ter­cepted a pass from newly ac­quired quar­ter­back Cardale Jones dur­ing seven-on-seven drills and broke up another pass dur­ing 11-on-11 drills.

Hayne Pal­mour IV San Diego Union-Tri­bune

CHARG­ERS VET­ER­ANS Philip Rivers, left, and An­to­nio Gates are weigh­ing whether to at­tend ex-team­mate LaDainian Tom­lin­son’s Hall of Fame in­duc­tion.

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