Chargers Training Camp Observations: DeAndre Carter Shines, How Special Teams is Shaking Out and Other Notes From Day 7

Observations and notes from the seventh day of Chargers training camp.

COSTA MESA – The Chargers completed a non-padded practice on Day 7 of training camp after the last two days featured the players in full pads. It was a shorter practice than what’s typical, and the primary focus entailed 7-on-7s, 11-on-11s and special teams work.

Here are my observations and notes from the Chargers’ seventh training camp practice of the summer:

Practice comes to an abrupt end

The Chargers already looked as if they were heading towards a shortened practice, but one play in particular put everything to a close. The team finished practice with 11-on-11s when a frightening collision between safety Nasir Adderley and wide receiver Maurice Ffrench put everything to a hold.

Ffrench ran a wheel route down the right sideline into the end zone and Chase Daniel’s pass met him with Adderley also attempting to make a play on the ball, resulting in a physical wreck between the two players. Adderley came away with an interception and Ffrench was slow to get up, requiring medical attention for a couple minutes until he gathered himself and walked off under his own power.

“Maurice is OK. Guys competing, probably, a little bit too close,” Staley said of the collision between Ffrench and Adderley. “We’re thankful that he’s OK. That’s the thing, you have to keep learning how to practice with one another because everybody wants to make a good impression, but you have to make sure that you keep people safe. That was one where it was a close call, but he’s OK. We’ll learn from that, for sure.”

DeAndre Carter shining

When the Chargers added DeAndre Carter in free agency, the assumption was he would primarily serve as the deep man on special teams. But through seven days of training camp, Carter has been a bright spot at receiver as well.

During 7-on-7s, Carter hauled in two touchdown grabs during red zone work. He has routinely worked from the slot alignment and has flashed his short area quickness, shaking defenders across the middle in between traffic.

“He really got off to a good start with our quarterbacks in the springtime. But he’s a very good receiver. He is not just a return specialist,” Staley said of Carter. “This guy can play offense. He can play in the slot, he can play out wide, he’s very good after the catch. He can run with the football so we’re glad to have Dre.”

How special teams is shaking out

The Chargers put an emphasis on special teams work during Wednesday’s practice. The returners included Carter, Bryce Callahan and Michael Bandy.

They rotated in a handful of different players at gunner, including Jalen Guyton, Maurice Ffrench, Josh Palmer, Ja’Sir Taylor, JT Woods, Joe Reed, Kemon Hall and Michael Davis who all received looks.

“I think that these specialists are doing a great job in terms of trying to find their niche, in terms of being consistent. I think that they’re putting in a good day’s work each and every day, continuing to get better,” special teams coordinator Ryan Ficken said. “I’m very impressed with the core guys and how they’ve been working, how they’ve bought in, how they’ve worked with the technique and fundamentals, things that we’re trying to get down to lay the foundation and get off of the ground.”

Kicker Dustin Hopkins received a day off from kicking, but Staley said afterwards that it was by design. That opened the door for kicker James McCourt to obtain all the reps. McCourt was sharp on Wednesday, converting on seven of eight attempts from my counting, and the only miss came from 40 yards out in which it went wide left.

Non-participants and load management

Derwin James didn’t practice for the seventh consecutive day of camp. Staley said after practice there’s no update regarding his contract hold-in.

Safety Mark Webb, cornerback Tevaughn Campbell, tight end Tre’ McKitty and wide receiver Jason Moore also didn’t practice on Wednesday. Staley said they’re all dealing with something of the “soft tissue nature” and are considered day-to-day.

A handful of veterans also received a load management day in which their workload was decreased. Left guard Matt Fieler, center Corey Linsley, wide receiver Keenan Allen, linebacker Kyle Van Noy and edge rushers Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa didn’t partake in the 11-on-11 portion of practice but did complete individual drills.

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Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.

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