With the expectations Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (broken clavicle) will miss the next four-to-six weeks, coach Norv Turner continued to search for answers on how he will handle the running game at the start of the season. But Mathews claimed he may be ready to play by the opener.
“We really had a spirited practice today,” Turner said Sunday. “One of the things we are doing is mixing the running game with the backs who are working. I thought Ronnie Brown was outstanding. We used [FB] Le’Ron McClain some there as a runner ... and Curtis Brinkley. Each one of the three brings something different, so I like the way that went.”
After practice, Mathews said he may be ready to play in the season opener against Oakland, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Mathews self adjusted the time he will be out down to three-to-six weeks, according to the newspaper. “I heal pretty fast,” Mathews said. “I think that'll give me time to play against the Raiders.”
If Mathews is not ready for the opener, then the rest of the RBs are eager for the opportunity to fill in with all seemingly practicing with a little more intensity. Brown got a little chippy when CB Shareece Wright continued contact a few seconds after the whistle. Brown landed a solid slap on Wright’s face mask, but the two quickly laughed it off before the dispute had a chance to escalate.
What stood out: QB Philip Rivers found WR Malcom Floyd streaking down the sideline, but FS Sean Cattouse (undrafted, Cal) jumped the route for an INT. Cattouse was playing first-string in place of FS Eric Weddle (hip). It was one of the first times Cattouse had distinguished himself since the start of OTAs.
“Coaches have been trying to teach me how to read the quarterback,” Cattouse said. “Being able to come up with a pick is something that I have probably been working on more than anything. I think today was kind of the first day I made a play doing what they were trying to teach me in terms of reading the quarterback and those kinds of technical things.”
Rivers quickly rebounded and found Floyd open deep down the middle for a long completion. At the end of practice, Rivers rifled a pass into WR Robert Meachem who was surrounded by three defenders. Meachem caught the ball and split the defenders for a long catch and run TD, while all three defenders fell down and in unison pounded the ground with their fists in frustration.
Sunday was the last training camp practice open to the public. At the conclusion, most of the team spent a considerable time signing autographs for the couple thousand fans in attendance.
Injury updates: Antonio Garay (left foot in boot), Garrett Brown (left foot in boot), Eric Weddle (hip),WR Eddie Royal (leg) and G Johnnie Troutman (pectoral) worked out on the side and did not practice. Also did not practice: G-T Brandyn Dombrowski (foot, cyst), LT Jared Gaither (back spasms) and Ryan Mathews.
Garay and Brown were new additions to the nonparticipants list. Garay rolled his ankle during Saturday’s practice. Turner said he expects Garay will return soon.
K Nate Kaeding missed his second consecutive practice due to a death in the family. S Darrell Stuckey (stinger) returned to practice
What's next: The Chargers will have a walk-through Monday morning followed by a full practice in the afternoon. All practices are closed to the public.