Rivers al­ready feels at home

Los Angeles Times - - NFL - By Lind­sey Thiry lind­sey.thiry@la­times.com Twit­ter: @Lind­seyThiry

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.”

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 oneon-one drills Mon­day.

Tomlinson in­ducted

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.

Robert Gau­thier Los An­ge­les Times

CHARG­ERS quar­ter­back Philip Rivers looked com­fort­able in prac­tice with Rams at StubHub Cen­ter.

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