Through eight training-camp practices, there has been plenty to observe about Justin Herbert, the Chargers’ Pro Bowl quarterback entering his third season with near-limitless expectations.
One thing J.C. Jackson said he has noticed is that Herbert keeps throwing in the other direction.
“He hasn’t really thrown to my side,” Jackson said. “I don’t know if he’s afraid or what, but Herbert hasn’t thrown to my side yet.”
Jackson laughed after sharing his observation and then added: “Herbert is a great guy. I love practicing against him. I can’t wait to see what he does this year.”
In March, the Chargers signed Jackson to a five-year contract worth up to $82.5 million with $40 million guaranteed. His 25 interceptions since 2018 are the most in the NFL.
Jackson had his first pickoff of camp Friday when he secured a tipped ball thrown by Easton Stick.
After four seasons with New England, Jackson joined a Chargers defense that will feature two accomplished, veteran pass rushers in Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack.
Jackson said he has never played with such an impressive duo coming off the edge. He suggested the presence of Bosa and Mack could allow him to further exploit his already elite skills.
“I believe I can make more turnovers having those two guys going at the quarterback,” Jackson said. “So that should be fun.”
The Chargers tied for 21st last season with 11 interceptions. Jackson had nine and eight interceptions, respectively, the last two seasons.
“There’s no pressure,” Jackson said when asked about his new contract. “I just feel more excited. … This is nothing new to me. You’ll see when the season starts what I’m going to bring to the table and to this team.”
As for Jackson’s observation about Herbert, defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill smiled and dismissed the idea that the Chargers’ quarterback was avoiding one side of the field.
“Justin’s confident, too,” Hill said. “So I don’t know if it’s that. J.C. is a big, physical guy. It’s a presence over there. But I don’t think Justin’s scared to throw the ball anywhere.”
The Chargers returned to practice after not being on the field Thursday. Some takeaways from their 90-plus minute session:
- Woods, a third-round pick out of Baylor, had a rough day. Hill explained that the rookie is still processing a defense that many veterans have called complex. “We kind of threw a lot at him,” Hill said. “You can see sometimes in his rotational things where there’s a little pause there.” Hill still touted Woods’ potential and said his play will improve as the season approaches and the coaches can shrink the playbook for him to better utilize his strengths.
- Veteran Sebastian Joseph-Day and rookie Otito Ogbonnia both knocked down passes at the line of scrimmage along a defensive front the Chargers believe is vastly improved over a year ago.
- Kicker Dustin Hopkins made all eight of his attempts in team drills after struggling early this week.
- Cornerback Bryce Callahan on what makes wide receiver Keenan Allen such a tough cover: “Just his route running. He’s real shifty. … he’s got some voodoo on his routes, let’s just say that.”