SAN DIEGO -- Normally starters go against starters and backups match up against backups at the start of one-on-one pass drills for the San Diego Chargers.
The idea is the best going against the best will make each other better.
“I told Melvin Ingram, ‘Let me get it. I want it,’” Mueller said. “And he was like, ‘All right, hop up there, young buck.’ And I went in there, got it done and made a play.”
Mueller made the most of his opportunity, catching Dunlap off balance and beating him for a quarterback sack. Mueller proved that it wasn’t a fluke, beating Dunlap again with a spin move later in practice.
“I’m just trying to work on my jump set,” Dunlap said about the encounter with Mueller. “So I jump set him and didn’t stay inside-out on him and he spun on me. It was a good move. He got me on one rep, but there’s always tomorrow.”
Mueller, at 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds, is dwarfed by the 6-9, 330-pound Dunlap. However, Mueller said he regularly competed against a player of similar stature back in college at Kansas State, Cornelius Lucas, the projected starting right tackle for the Detroit Lions who was an undrafted free agent for that team last season.
“It wasn’t my first time going against somebody of that magnitude,” Mueller said. “So that fear is kind of out the window. So I just go out there, be fearless, and ball.”
Mueller finished his career for the Wildcats with 20.5 sacks, including a career-high 11.5 in 2013. He also totaled 33.5 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles during his time at Kansas State.
“I’m a work in progress,” Mueller said. “I’m working on all of my moves, trying to make myself the most versatile, athletic player on this team that I can possibly be to earn a roster spot, no question.”
Injury update: The Chargers suffered their first injury of training camp, with defensive lineman Tenny Palepoi limping off of the field with a lower leg injury. Cornerback Brandon Flowers also did not participate in practice due to an undisclosed injury. Over 3,000 fans attended Saturday’s practice.
Defense wins again: For a second straight day, the defense looked better than the offense. Jason Verrett had a good day, batting down a couple of passes in team drills. Nickel defender Patrick Robinson also had a couple of deflected passes. Robinson ran with the starters at left cornerback with Flowers unavailable.
LT in the house: Former San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson attended training camp on Saturday in his day job capacity working for the NFL Network. Tomlinson said he was impressed with fellow TCU product Verrett, along with rookie running back Melvin Gordon. “A lot of people compare him to Jamaal Charles, but I really don’t see that because he’s much bigger than Jamaal Charles,” Tomlinson said. “I would compare him more to a guy like Eric Dickerson with his straight-up running style. He’s got a long torso, long legs and still is able to really move in the open field. I think the kid has all of the tools to be productive at this level.”