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Dirty or not, Dielman an anchor on Bolts line

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Saturday, January 2, 2010

    At tomorrow’s game, being inconsequential as it is, those actually in attendance at Qualcomm Stadium should take the opportunity to train their eyes to the left of the center – and keep them there.

    After the snap, through the play, right on through the whistle, stay on No. 68.

    “He is fun to watch,” offensive line coach Hal Hunter said. “He takes everything to the nth degree. He finishes every play. He finishes a guy until the whistle is blown.

    That upsets a lot of guys. Sometimes he is finishing a guy when the ball is gone. But he takes pride in, from the time the ball is snapped until the whistle is blown, blocking the guy the whole time, and he finishes with a little attitude.”

    Much has been made of Chargers left guard Kris Dielman’s reputation as a man who plays on the fringes of clean. Dirty Dielman. And, sure, he sometimes gets in an extra shove, which, really, is one of the best parts of watching him after the play has unfolded.

    A new admirer has long been known as among the NFL’s “dirtiest” players, and takes that as a compliment.

    “It’s a physical, violent game, and that’s the way he plays it,” said right tackle Jon Runyan, who joined the Chargers in late November. “That’s why it’s fun to watch.”

    Mostly, Dielman is just so strong, and there is an angry purpose to his game that makes it appear he must be playing with a grudge.

    He flat out flattens people. So often, there are a series of plays in which he simply dictates what will happen. There is no question what will happen in the space he occupies. It’s brilliant to see.

    “He’s not going to quit; you know you’re not going to break his will,” center Nick Hardwick said. “He has a natural drive and imposes himself on people.”

    So fantastic has the man named this week to his third consecutive Pro Bowl become that it stood out like a flashing alarm when over the course of about the first month of the season, Dielman wasn’t, well, Dielman.

    He got beat straight up a few times, he seemed to lack finish on some plays. Understand, this was not consistently the case. But it was enough to notice, because it was almost unprecedented.

    “One or two bad plays, especially when you’re a good player,” Hunter said, “that stands out.”

    Dielman, as befitting a lineman, who can’t let a couple defeats affect a game that is a 50-plus play battle, says only, “I’ve gotten better as the season has gone along.”

    There was never any worry about Dielman, even then. Those in the organization believed his steadiness and ferocity would right him over the course of a season.

    “He’s played good throughout most of the year,” head coach Norv Turner said this week. “I think the first month he played good. He had some bad plays, plays that were uncharacteristic of him. We were in a lot of games (where) there was a lot more pass than run. He’s a complete player, but that’s not his strength. He’s played great through this stretch.”

    A part of that owes to the fact the Chargers have run about 10 more times per game over the duration of their 10-game winning streak than they did the season’s first five games.

    “It’s nice to get the run mixed in there,” Dielman said. “That’s what I like to do, so I’m very comfortable. I like to run the ball. That’s the way it’s been since I’ve been here.”

    But Dielman has also embraced — if you can call it that — the Chargers’ new style. He spoke of measuring the offensive line’s success now by Philip Rivers’ 4,155 passing yards and both Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson topping 1,000 receiving yards, where it used to be by LaDainian Tomlinson’s rushing totals.

    “When Philip is putting up numbers, receivers are having the years they’re having, something is going right,” Dielman said. “We all know the times have changed around here. As long as you’re winning, you deal with it.”

    Turner, who has coached a long time in the NFL, is reluctant to make comparisons. And he doesn’t give out compliments like those cough drops he sucks on during practice.

    But Turner praises Dielman freely.

    “He’s as complete an offensive guard as I’ve been around,” Turner said. “The one thing people lose sight of is this still is a game where you want to go after people and wear them down and get them to back off. And there’s no one who does that better than Kris.”

    Don’t lose sight of that tomorrow.

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