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Coaches get good look at Burnett, Dobbins

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    Casey Pearce
    Posted Aug 17, 2009

    Stephen Cooper returned to the field Monday after missing a week due to an ankle injury and while the Chargers are happy to have their leading tackler back, his absence provided the coaches with time to evaluate some of the other linebackers.

    Chargers starting inside linebacker Stephen Cooper was back on the field Monday for the first time since he sprained his ankle nine days earlier.

    While the Chargers are thrilled to have their leading tackler back, Cooper’s absence also provided the staff with additional time to evaluate his linebacker cohorts.

    Kevin Burnett, the only veteran free agent the Chargers added this offseason, and Tim Dobbins, the incumbent at the “Mo” linebacker position, have spent training camp battling for the right to start next to Cooper in the team’s base defense.

    In Saturday’s preseason opener, Dobbins slid over to Cooper’s “Mike,” or strong side inside linebacker spot, with the first-team defense, and Burnett started at the Mo position. The realignment gave the Chargers a nice look at Burnett in his first game action with the club and gave Dobbins a chance to expand his horizons a little.

    “It’s great for Tim to play there,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “He can play that position, which adds to his versatility. It gave us a chance for Kevin Burnett to get 25 or so snaps at the weak-side inside linebacker.”

    Both Dobbins and Burnett played the entire first half as Dobbins totaled four tackles Saturday and Burnett led the club with six stops. Turner liked what he saw from both players, and he was particularly complimentary of Burnett.

    “He brings a speed and a quickness to us that is different than what we’ve had,” Turner said.

    Immediately following Saturday’s game, Burnett gave himself “probably an eight” when asked to evaluate his Chargers debut. When he spoke to the media Monday after watching the film, he still felt good about his performance.

    “I wanted to see how I recognized formations and sets and how well I communicated that to my teammates,” Burnett said. “From what it looked like on film, we did a pretty good job of that. We did some good things.”

    Burnett looked comfortable Saturday night, in part because he spent two years in Dallas playing in a scheme very similar to the one the Chargers run.

    “There are just some small, subtle differences that keep me wanting to learn more and more each week,” Burnett said.

    While he thrived as a situational player and special teams contributor in Dallas, Burnett is ready to take a step forward in his career. He believes he’s ready to do so and believes he showed that Saturday night.

    “I’m not looking to be a package player at all,” Burnett said. “I’m definitely looking to be an every-down guy. Anybody who plays this game, if they’re looking to be a special teams guy, a number two for their whole career, they’re in the wrong game. I’m definitely looking to be a starter and be a contributor on this football team.”

    Injury update

    Turner was pleased that his team escaped their preseason opener without any significant new injuries. Linebacker Brandon Siler (hamstring) will likely miss some time this week, but Turner expects to get some players who couldn’t practice last week back on the field.

    Cooper and defensive end Jacques Cesaire participated in Monday’s practice, and Turner is hopeful that guard Louis Vasquez and linebacker Larry English will be able to practice by mid week. Guard Kynan Forney didn’t practice Monday but is expected to return to the field Tuesday.

    In the Cards

    Just as he did prior to the Seahawks game, Turner told his starters to “be ready to play a half” Saturday when the team travels to Arizona for their second preseason contest against the Cardinals.

    Turner said that running back LaDainian Tomlinson will play and will likely get the same number of plays he did against Seattle. LT had five carries and one reception versus the Seahawks.

    Nice showing

    Much to Turner’s pleasure, the first player he saw Monday morning at Chargers Park was linebacker Shawne Merriman, who was fast at work in the weight room.

    “He was the first guy in,” Turner said. “It’s not rehab because you’re not healthy; it’s the maintenance that he’s going to have to continue to do just like a year ago Philip (Rivers) was doing.”

    Like most of the Chargers’ starters, Merriman saw limited action against Seattle, but Turner liked what he saw from the three-time Pro Bowl performer.

    “I thought Shawne looked good,” Turner said. “He looked quick, he looked confident. He didn’t have a lot of action. There were a lot plays that went away from him but I thought he was physical with his guy. He brings a presence.”

    In addition to Merriman’s play, Turner was happy with the performance of two reserve outside linebackers

    “I think Jyles Tucker played more physical than he’s played,” Turner said. “Antwan Applewhite is a year older and I thought he did a nice job.”
     
  2. maestro876

    maestro876 BoltTalker

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    Burnett will be the starter next to Cooper.
     
  3. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    WTF? I thought that Bingham just had to have surgery for a torn biceps & Turner says no significant injuries? :icon_huh:
     

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