Chargers’ Justin Herbert doesn’t throw in JC Jackson’s corner

Over eight drives in training camp, there’s been a lot to watch on Justin Herbert, the Chargers’ Pro Bowl quarterback who enters his third season with near limitless expectations.

A thing JC Jackson says he noticed is that Herbert keeps throwing the other way.

“He didn’t really throw alongside me,” Jackson said. “I don’t know if he’s scared or what, but Herbert hasn’t rushed to my side yet.”

Jackson laughed after sharing his observation and then added, “Herbert is a great guy. I love training 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 out of camp on Friday when he got a reverse ball thrown by Easton Stick.

After four seasons with New England, Jackson has joined a Chargers defense that will feature two accomplished veteran pass rushers in Joey Bosa and Khalil Mac.

Jackson said he has never played with such an impressive duo. He suggested that the presence of Bosa and Mack could allow him to further exploit his already elite skills.

“I think I can make more turnovers having those two guys at quarterback,” Jackson said. “So that should be fun.”

The Chargers tied for 21st last season with 11 interceptions. Jackson has had nine and eight interceptions, respectively, over the past two seasons.

Chargers cornerback JC Jackson relaxes before practice.

Cornerback JC Jackson says he expects to get more interceptions this season because of the Chargers’ excellent rushing.

(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

“There’s no pressure,” Jackson said when asked about his new contract. “I just feel more excited. … This is not 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 is confident too,” Hill said. “So I don’t know if that’s it. JC is a big physical guy. It is a presence there. But I don’t think Justin is afraid to throw the ball anywhere.

Practical observations

The Chargers returned to practice after not being on the field Thursday. Some takeaways from their 90+ minute session:

  • Woods, a third-round pick from Baylor, had a tough day. Hill explained that the rookie still deals with a defense that many veterans have called complex. “We kind of threw a lot at him,” Hill said. “You can see sometimes in his spinning things where there’s a little pause there.” Hill has always touted Woods’ potential and said his game will improve as the season approaches and coaches may reduce the playbook so he can better use his strengths.
  • Veteran Sebastien Joseph-Day and rookie Otito Ogbonnia both knocked down passes at the line of scrimmage along a defensive front the Chargers said improved significantly from a year ago.
  • Kicker Dustin Hopkins made his eight attempts in team drills after struggling early this week.
  • Cornerback Bryce Callahan on what makes wide receiver Keenan Allen such tough coverage: “Just his running route. He’s really sneaky. …he has voodoo on his roads, let’s just say that.

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