San Diego Chargers: Lawrence Guy

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.
SAN DIEGO -- Good morning. The San Diego Chargers’ playoff chances were not helped by the Miami Dolphins (8-6) win at home against New England on Sunday.

However, San Diego’s path to the postseason remains the same. The Chargers need to win their final two games at home against Oakland and Kansas City, finishing alone at 9-7. Along with that, the Dolphins have to lose their final two games at Buffalo and at home against the New York Jets, coupled with the Ravens (7-6) losing two of their last three games. The Ravens travel to Detroit to face the Lions in Monday Night Football, then finish the season at home against New England and on the road at Cincinnati.

This projected playoff scenario using ESPN’s playoff machine shows the Chargers getting in at 9-7 as the last AFC Wild Card team, and traveling to Cincinnati for a rematch against the Bengals in the opening round of the playoffs.

Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated provides an updated look at the playoff picture after Week 15 results.

ESPN Dolphins beat reporter James Walker writes that Miami’s win over New England makes the Dolphins’ path to the playoffs simple -- win at Buffalo and at home to the New York Jets in the regular season finale and they are in.

In this ESPN Insider piece, Nathan Jahnke of Pro Football Focus ranks the roster depth of every NFL roster. The Chargers are placed at No. 13 in the league, which I thought was a bit high. Jahnke: “The Chargers have used a nickel defense most often this season, which makes Sean Lissemore (+15.2), Lawrence Guy (+8.5) and Cam Thomas (+2.4) all backups -- with Lissemore standing out the most. Whether you consider Woodhead or Ryan Mathews the starting running back, both have played very well when called on. Ladarius Green (+9.3) also looks like a future star at tight end. The Chargers tried to fix the offensive line in the offseason, but it still has a little ways to go. Due to injuries, they lack players who can come off the bench and provide a pass rush off the edge.”

Ben Stockwell of Pro Football Focus takes a look back at San Diego’s big win over Denver last week.

Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego talks to Melvin Ingram about his long road back from ACL reconstructive knee surgery.

Ricky Henne of offers five lessons learned from San Diego’s win at Denver.
SAN DIEGO -- For the first time in many weeks, the San Diego Chargers had all 53 players on the active roster participate in practice Tuesday -- a good sign for a team facing the Denver Broncos, who are undefeated at home.

"The last couple weeks coming out of games we've been fairly healthy," San Diego coach Mike McCoy said. "Every game you're going to have some dings, but nothing serious. So it's been a good couple weeks for us."

Receiver Eddie Royal (toe), center Nick Hardwick (neck), cornerback Shareece Wright (foot) and defensive back Johnny Patrick (ankle) were limited in practice.

Receiver Keenan Allen (shoulder), tackle D.J. Fluker (ankle), defensive end Lawrence Guy (toe), linebacker Jarret Johnson (hand), defensive tackle Sean Lissemore (toe) and defensive end Corey Liuget (knee) were full participants.

Royal had not practiced since injuring his toe against Indianapolis on Oct. 14. Royal missed just one game over the past seven because of the injury, against Cincinnati. With less practice time, Royal said he put in more film study and mental reps to make sure he was prepared to play.

"I just had to study more than normal," Royal said. "Because when you're out there running the plays, you don't normally have to go home and look at it for hours. But now that you're not doing it, you want to make sure that you're detailed in what you're doing. There's a lot of little things that you have to pay attention to when you're not out there practicing every day."
LANDOVER, Md. -- One of the few bright spots on an otherwise disappointing day for the San Diego Chargers was the performance of the special teams’ unit.

Defensive end Lawrence Guy has been on the roster for only four weeks, but he made an impact against Washington, blocking a 25-yard field goal attempt by Kai Forbath, the Chargers' first blocked field goal attempt in 11 years.

“Every time I line up in that situation, my focus is on getting penetration and blocking the ball,” Guy said. “So that’s basically what I did. We got some penetration, I got my hands up and I blocked the ball.”

The play was Guy’s second blocked field goal this season. He also blocked a 48-yard field goal attempt by Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka that safety Delano Howell returned for a 61-yard score while Guy played for Indianapolis last month.

Guy also knocked down a Robert Griffin III pass attempt that teammate Sean Lissemore caught in the end zone for a touchdown -- San Diego’s first defensive touchdown of the season.

“It was kind of suspended in the air between people and all sorts of stuff,” Lissemore said about the play. “So I looked down, saw something brown and held onto it. It was kind of tough down there. People were pawing at it and grabbing it, but we ended up getting the touchdown.”

Defensive end Corey Liuget also blocked a 59-yard Forbath field goal attempt at the end of the half.

San Diego punter Mike Scifres also had a good day, finishing with two punts downed on the 1-yard line.

The first punt was an impressive play by receiver Seyi Ajirotutu. As the gunner, Ajirotutu raced down the field, diving and batting the ball back into the field of play before it reached the end zone. Safety Darrell Stuckey downed the ball on the 1-yard line.

The other one was a shorter, 35-yard kick that Scifres angled toward the sideline, with the coffin-corner kick bouncing out just before it reached the goal line.

Scifres said it’s the first time he’s had two punts downed on the 1-yard line in a game.

“He made a great play on the first one,” Scifres said. “And on the second one, on that short of field, we just played the sideline.”
SAN DIEGO -- Donald Butler, the San Diego Chargers’ middle linebacker who has missed practice all week, was absent from Friday's practice and is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game at Washington.

Butler missed the past two games with a groin issue. If Butler does not play, Andrew Gachkar will start in his place, with reserve linebacker Reggie Walker subbing in on passing situations.

Reserve offensive lineman Mike Remmers (ankle) also did not practice all week, and has been ruled out for Sunday. Receiver Eddie Royal did not practice at all this week because of a toe injury, and is listed as questionable.

However, Royal did not practice at all two weeks ago leading up to the Jacksonville game and he played. Royal wore a walking boot during practice this week.

“He came out, and he’s been working hard in what he needs to do,” San Diego coach Mike McCoy said. “And we’ll make that decision come game time with what we think is best for him.”

Offensive lineman Chad Rinehart was a limited participant again on Friday, and is listed as questionable with a toe injury. Rinehart hasn’t played in a month, but could see some time against Washington, although Johnnie Troutman likely will continue to start at left guard.

“He looked good,” McCoy said about Rinehart. “He got better every day. As the week went on, he got more and more comfortable. I think when you’ve missed the time that he’s missed, it’s just a matter of getting back out there and doing it again.”

Safety Eric Weddle (toe), defensive end Lawrence Guy (toe) and outside linebacker Jarret Johnson (hamstring) were full participants on Friday, and are listed as probable for Sunday’s game.
SAN DIEGO -- It’s pretty unusual to make a game-changing play for one team, and then line up against them the following week.

But new San Diego Chargers defensive end Lawrence Guy could get that opportunity on Monday, when the Indianapolis Colts come to town.

Guy blocked a field goal attempt by Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka that was returned 61 yards by Delano Howell in the Colts’ 34-28 win over the Seahawks last Sunday. Guy played 23 snaps on defense and another 16 on special teams.

A day later the Colts waived Guy to make room on the 53-man roster for receiver LaVon Brazill, who was suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Guy hopes he’s active on Monday night so he can play against his former teammates.

“I can’t wait,” Guy said. “I spent almost a year and a half playing against those guys in practice, so if they activate me, it’s going to be fun going against those familiar faces again.”

A Las Vegas native who played at Arizona State, Guy said he’s pleased to be back on the West Coast where most of his family is located. And he should not face a big adjustment in terms of scheme, with the Colts and Chargers both running a 3-4 defensive alignment.

At 6-foot-4 and 318 pounds, Guy will be asked to give San Diego depth at defensive end.

While there are little secrets between teams in the league, with Guy, recent practice squad addition running back Kerwynn Williams and general manager Tom Telesco all having ties to the Colts, San Diego coach Mike McCoy should have a good idea of Indianapolis’ scheme, personnel and tendencies in game-day situations.

“We’re trying to do what’s best for the football team,” McCoy said. “And we’re trying to get players that can help us win, and that’s what we’re looking to do every week, week in and week out. It just happened that we’re playing them this week.

“So we made some changes on the roster, obviously. They came from Indy, so we’ll ask them a few questions.”