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Bolts’ Siler gets first chance to start

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    [​IMG]



    By Chris Jenkins, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
    Saturday, December 19, 2009


    Philip Rivers waited. Quentin Jammer waited. Vincent Jackson waited. Kris Dielman and Shaun Phillips both waited. Yes, even Shawne Merriman and Antonio Gates waited, although not for long.
    LaDainian Tomlinson? Uh, no wait.
    A vast majority of the players in the Chargers starting lineup did their time — some far more time than others — as backups paying their dues on special teams and even inactive lists. This is the NFL. What this isn’t is Washington or Cleveland.
    “I didn’t understand when I first got here (in 2007),” said linebacker Brandon Siler, “but I quickly realized that with the talent on this team and the talent it’s had here for a long time, you don’t come in and play fast.”
    In fact, head coach Norv Turner yesterday said it’s become one of the true hallmarks of the 10-3 Chargers, the way players who’ve been here for two and three years as relative unknowns and backups are suddenly being inserted into games and performing, some as well as the so-called regulars who had been sidelined by injury.
    “When you’re not thrown into the fire immediately, you get to see how things operate,” said Siler of his seasons on the sideline. “But you have to touch that fire to know what it feels like to get burned.”
    Professional athletes aren’t a naturally patient lot; Silver is no different, and it shows. When he arrives on the field in any capacity, teammates know it, because the pent-up energy and vocal levels rise markedly. Having done two-plus years on the unwritten waiting list, he’s finally getting the chance to bring that fire to the defensive huddle, and he’ll start tomorrow against the Cincinnati Bengals.
    “B-Si gets so hyped up,” said veteran defensive lineman Jacques Cesaire. “He gets everyone else excited. He’s like, ‘Man, they’re coming, but they ain’t coming through.’ He gets you pumped.”
    Specifically, that was Cesaire talking about the goal-line stand the Chargers put on the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday, a series that was both a statement and a turning point in the victory. Until an injury to Tim Dobbins opened up a spot in the starting linebacker corps a few weeks back, the goal-line stand was about Siler’s only chance to get in a defensive stance, and his expertise definitely came into play with his fourth-down stuff of Marion Barber.
    Besides making such a difference-making play — and he’d recorded the Chargers’ only sack on the previous series — the best part for Siler came the next time the Chargers sent their defense onto the field.
    He was in it. And the time after that.
    Siler’s been awaiting this opportunity almost from the day the Chargers made him the 240th overall draft choice, taking the Florida linebacker in the seventh round, far lower than he’d expected. After all, Siler was a three-time All-Southeastern Conference linebacker, including a national-championship run his final season of 2006.
    For obvious reasons, Siler has second-guessed his decision to forgo his senior year at Florida to enter the draft. Then again, he’s surrounded in the Chargers locker room by players who had to take the methodical route to the lineup, not to mention others still waiting for their turn. For his part, Siler impressed by leading the Chargers in special-teams tackles his rookie season and ranking second in that category in 2008.
    “We’ve always known Brandon was a solid football player,” defensive coordinator Ron Rivera said. “It’s just a matter of beating somebody out or somebody getting hurt and him getting the opportunity. You watch him play, he’s a high-energy guy with good leadership skills, and I think he’s done extremely well. At the same time, Timmy Dobbins was playing very well before he got nicked. Same thing with Kevin Burnett.
    “You’ve got some good, talented football players you have to learn to mix. So now we have to create roles for players. It’s hard to sit good players when you’ve got this many good players at one position. You have to find ways to use them.”
    Rivera can relate to Siler’s situation from more than a coach’s standpoint. He was a well-regarded linebacker coming out of Cal, drafted in the second round by the Chicago Bears, who didn’t really have an immediate need for his services on the first-team defense.
    “They drafted me to be Mike Singletary’s backup,” Rivera said. “I had to play special teams. But I got my opportunity when Mike got hurt a few games. Next thing you know, I ended up starting for six years.”
    The arrival of Siler’s long-awaited opportunity coincided with a part of the schedule that definitely called his name. His ability to stop the run is what got him on the goal-line group, and at times Sunday, the Cowboys almost seemed to abandon their passing game to run at San Diego. Tomorrow’s opponent is Cincinnati, whose offense has grown more dependent on the ground game than possibly any other in the NFL.
    “When a team runs the ball, as a linebacker, you like that,” Siler said. “But they run it really well. They run and they stick with it and keep running. A lot of teams will abandon the run (at times), but they stick it out.”
     
  2. 14fouts

    14fouts BoltTalker

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    So are Burnett and Dobbins gonna play at all tom?
     
  3. sdbound

    sdbound Well-Known Member

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    Burnett is going to be questionable. (neck)
     
  4. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

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    Hopefully Siler can make the difference tomarrow by smacking Ced Benson in the chops.
     
  5. IFiredCHart

    IFiredCHart Well-Known Member

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    We are lucky to be facing Benson coming off an injury--their passing attack does not scare me at all, and no defense has been able to stop our offense this season.

    Time to put the kitties to sleep. :icon_toast:
     
  6. Kwak

    Kwak ....

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    Now we just need to get Dobbins in there as well. Get a starting combo of Siler and Dobbins.
     
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  7. sdbound

    sdbound Well-Known Member

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    From your keyboard to Rivera's ears.
     
  8. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

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    NICE! Now show us you deserve to KEPP the starting spot by punishing the Kittycats.
     

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