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At left tackle, Dombrowski is Chargers' center of attention

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    By Nick Canepa , UNION-TRIBUNE
    Monday, August 30, 2010 at 6:17 p.m.

    When a tree falls, the shade is gone. Earl Derr Biggers wrote that during one of his Charlie Chan words-of-Chinese-wisdom moments.
    Anyway, Marcus McNeill has been a tree, all right, providing shade on Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers’ vulnerable side. And while McNeill hasn’t exactly fallen, he has left the woods to find a greener forest, taking his massive trunk and limbs with him. And most NFL teams don’t just pull replacement Pro Bowl foliage out of their nurseries.
    There must be time to grow. And, even with that, there hardly are guarantees the sapling will reach full maturity.
    It doesn’t appear McNeill’s ending his holdout anytime soon, so it now is up to Brandyn Dombrowski to provide the shelter, to be Rivers’ left-side bodyguard. And there’s no question the heated spotlight has been on him throughout August, because the position is new to him, and the season depends on Rivers remaining ambulatory.
    “That’s all right,” says Dombrowski, a natural left guard who played right tackle and some right guard last year when starters Jeromey Clary and Louis Vasquez went down. “I expected it, but I don’t pay attention to it, because I can’t. There are too many people counting on me to get the job done -- or they’ll find somebody else who will. It’s an opportunity, no matter what happens the rest of the way.”
    In the Chargers’ three exhibitions against Chicago , Dallas and New Orleans, Dombrowski, a 25-year-old undrafted free agent out of San Diego State in 2008, may not have made anyone forget Anthony Munoz, or even McNeill. But he’s hardly embarrassed himself, and if anything, he’s a better run blocker than McNeill.
    “It’s a good experience, going against the best; you learn what you have to work on,” Dombrowski says. “I think I’ve been good so far, but I have a long way to go, working on technique. You’re never satisfied.
    “Pass blocking is all about technique. You mess up a little bit and the other guy’s going to get you. It’s never ending. You’re always learning. When you’re satisfied with your technique, it’s time to get out of the league.”
    McNeill’s absence has prompted speculation that head coach Norv Turner has turned to a quicker passing game to keep Rivers upright, that the long pass so prevalent last year when Vincent Jackson (the other holdout) was sprinting downfield can’t happen with McNeill renting shade on vacation.
    And, with rookie tailback Ryan Mathews taking over for LaDainian Tomlinson, it’s also been obvious Turner is bent on getting outside more, utilizing Mathews’ speed. The Chargers have run more pitch plays this summer than they did the past two seasons.
    “It’s something we looked at in the offseason; we’re trying to get the ball out more on the edge, so we’ve put things in for Ryan,” Turner says. “We need to mix in more quick stuff in the passing game. We got so many people playing deep last year.
    “We’re not going to stop going deep just because Vincent isn’t here. Malcom (Floyd) made a lot of deep plays for us last year and Legedu (Naanee) can get deep. It all depends on how we’re being played. If we’re running the ball well, that’s when the deep balls come.”
    Turner can only dance with those in the room, and right now, Dombrowski, all 6-5, 323 pounds of him, is the best partner he can find on his left side. The coach doesn’t see a handicap there.
    “Brandyn’s a very good run blocker and there have been times (in passing situations) that we’ve left him alone and he’s held his own,” Turner says. “He’s passed every test -- he did it last year at right tackle. He got his most extended play in New Orleans, and that’s a good pass-rushing team.
    “We may need to help him some, but he’s not only physically tough, he’s mentally tough. He’s going to compete out there.”
    It’s a blow, to be sure, when Pro Bowlers such as McNeill and Jackson stay away when they should be in here working toward getting what they want, but people forget young players are capable of getting better. It why there are drafts.
    “Brandon’s done real well,” General Manager A.J. Smith says. “Obviously, because of the sensitivity at the position, he’ll be closely looked at and analyzed every play, every quarter. We think he’s doing well; I’m excited for him. He’s had an opportunity and he’s seized it.
    “We like what we see and hopefully he’ll get better. A lot of players do get better, you know. We like his work ethic and how he approaches the game. He’s a student of the game. Players get X amount of time. Some flourish, some get caught in the middle and some don’t meet the challenge. He’s met the challenge.”
    As long as that challenge isn’t at center.
    “I’m not going to center,” Dombrowski says. “Never. That’s not going to happen.”
    For now, center of attention is enough.
  2. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

    Jan 24, 2010
    When is Acee going to realize that it isn't about Dombrowski? It is about Clary still being at RT where Dombrowski should be playing. Dombrowski isn't as good as McNeil at LT and Clary isn't as good as Dombrowski at RT, so we are weaker at both tackles spots. It feels like he is just making an attempt at defending AJ rather that discussing the actual issue?

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