AFC West: Damik Scafe

SAN DIEGO -- I wanted to share leftover notes from the only open session for the San Diego Chargers' organized team activities this week.

The Chargers have another OTA practice closed to reporters Wednesday but will open things up to the media again Monday.

Oliver impresses: Undrafted rookie free-agent running back Branden Oliver caught my eye again Monday. The University of Buffalo product does not have elite top-end speed, running a 4.56-second, 40-yard time at his pro day. But he consistently showed good vision and quickness through the hole during 11-on-11 drills, with the ability to make defenders miss. Again, take this with a grain of salt because guys do not have pads on and no one is tackling anybody. But Oliver looks like he belongs so far running with the second and third units.

Depth at defensive end: The Chargers have a pretty good defensive end combination with Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes but not much depth behind those two. Lawrence Guy provided good minutes and had an impact as a spot guy last year. Sean Lissemore can slide out from nose guard and play defensive end. The Chargers also are hopefulDamik Scafe can stay healthy and play to his potential. The Boston College product had chance to make the final roster last season but suffered a foot injury and was released with an injury settlement. The Chargers brought Scafe back on the practice squad at the end of last season and signed him to a futures contract in January. Undrafted rookie free agent Tenny Palepoi also has shown flashes at times during practice.

Open competition at returner: San Diego has a lot of bodies competing for punt return duties so far during offseason work. Rookie receivers Brelan Chancellor, Javontee Herndon and Tevin Reese, along with veterans Eddie Royal and Keenan Allen, caught punts during the specialty period. I wouldn't rule out Royal or Allen handling punt return duties come September. Royal started 2013 as San Diego's main punt returner but yielded to Allen during the second half of the season due to a nagging toe injury. And Allen has said that he'd like to return punts again, although San Diego coach Mike McCoy might not like the idea of his No. 1 receiver fielding punts for a second straight year.

Competition at punter: A player to keep an eye on is undrafted rookie free-agent punter Chase Tenpenny, whose presence is viewed as a move to save veteran punter Mike Scifres' leg during the offseason. At 6-foot-3 and 252 pounds, the Nevada product looks more like a defensive end than a punter. Tenpenny, a left-footed punter, averaged 44 yards a boot at Nevada and finished with 30 punts out of 100 attempts downed inside the 20-yard line. Scifres had a solid 2013 season. He was among the best punters in the NFL in placing the ball inside the 20-yard line, finishing with a league-best 30 of 56 punts inside the 20. He can also kick field goals in a pinch. But Scifres turns 34 in October and is set to earn the second-highest salary among punters for the upcoming season at $3.25 million. Competition at the position could have Scifres thinking about taking a pay cut.

Chargers begin to revamp

September, 1, 2013
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A day after setting the 53-man roster, new San Diego Chargers general manager Tom Telesco went to work, adding depth to a roster that needs to get deeper.

Telesco started with the defense. The Chargers acquired defensive tackle Sean Lissemore from Dallas for a conditional 2015 seventh-round pick. Lissemore adds to a thin position. He is a good fit for the 3-4 defense. The fourth-year player could be a rotational player.

The Chargers also signed linebacker Reggie Walker. He was previously with Arizona where he played for new San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and new San Diego special-teams coach Kevin Spencer. Walker is known for being a strong special- teams player. That’s vital. The Chargers were awful on special teams in the preseason.

To make room for Lissemore and Walker, the Chargers reportedly cut linebacker D.J. Smith and put defensive tackle Damik Scafe on injured reserve.

Running back Edwin Baker, cut by San Diego, signed with Denver’s practice squad.

Chargers rotate roster

December, 18, 2012
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What do teams do when they are eliminated from playoff contention early? They look at the kids.

That’s what the 5-9 Chargers are doing.

The Chargers put running back Ryan Mathews (collarbone), receiver Malcom Floyd (ankle), and tackle Reggie Wells (ankle/toe) on the injured reserve. Receiver Mike Willie and defensive end Damik Scafe were promoted from the practice squad. There is still an opening on the 53-man roster.

These moves are not shocking especially the decision to shelve Mathews, who had surgery Monday.

In other AFC West news:

Looks like another delay for Orton

December, 7, 2011
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Kansas City coach Todd Haley told reporters Wednesday that it is unlikely quarterback Kyle Orton would practice later in the day. Orton suffered a finger injury in his only pass as a Chief.

The fact that Orton is not expected to practice Wednesday doesn’t automatically take him out of the mix to play Sunday at the New York Jets. But it is an indication Tyler Palko could be on his way to a fourth straight start. Palko improved some last week in a win at Chicago.

If Orton doesn’t play this week, you have to wonder how much he will play the rest of the season. Orton is a free agent at the end of the season. Kansas City claimed the remaining $2.5 million off his contract off waivers from Denver Nov. 23, but we've barely seen him.

In other AFC West nuggets:

ESPN Stats & Information has put together an impressive interactive look at the many offensive sets the Broncos have used with Tim Tebow at quarterback. Check it out. It’s well done. Meanwhile, Tebow leads off our QB Watch. ESPN.com's Rick Reilly credits John Fox for buying into Tebow and for leading the Broncos’ resurgence.

Denver linebacker Von Miler remains atop ESPN.com’s Rookie Watch,

The season of Kansas City linebacker Derrick Johnson impressed one of the best players at his position in the NFL.

The Chargers placed defensive end Luis Castillo on the injured reserve. He suffered a broken leg early in the season and he not improved. The team signed defensive end Damik Scafe to the practice squad and linebacker Nate Triplett to the 53-man roster.

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