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For now, Gregory's gain is Cason's loss

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Veteran DB moves up to No. 1 nickel back

    By Kevin Acee
    Union-Tribune Staff Writer
    October 28, 2009

    SAN DIEGO – The Steve Gregory experiment having worked out in its first incarnation, Norv Turner this week made a point to portray the switch at the nickel back position as a sort of change of scenery for all involved.
    “When you make a move like we did, you can either look at it and say it's a positive move for Steve Gregory and our football team,” the Chargers head coach said, “or you say it's a negative because we've moved someone.”
    Antoine Cason, while determined to accept the former, seethes quietly. He most definitely sees the latter much clearer.
    “I don't know what the thinking is behind it,” said Cason, who has yet to be told why he lost his job at the No. 1 nickel spot.
    Gregory on Sunday in Kansas City intercepted a pass, had a sack, two passes defensed (one of which should have been another pick), a quarterback knockdown and a hurry.
    Albeit playing a team with a harried quarterback and anything but elite receivers, Gregory looked comfortable and aware of what he needed to do.
    On one play in the third quarter, he defied an attempt to block him out of a play because he clearly knew where the ball was going. On another play, he blitzed and then came back to make the tackle after a short gain. He had one pass caught on him in the five times he was targeted.
    “Steve has a real good change of direction, real good suddenness, and he's suited to play in the slot,” Turner said. “ ... He's more experienced (than Cason). He understands what people are doing in there. He's very quick, a compact player.”
    Chargers coaches have said publicly over the past week the move was about Gregory being better suited to play in the slot, where the nickel back has to play in space, more than Cason having done something wrong. Cason was drafted in the first round in 2008 as a cornerback and is seen as a future starter at that position.
    “I'm a big Cason guy, and I think he's an outstanding corner,” Turner said. “I think we've taken some pressure off him, and he can be prepared to back up both our corners on the outside.”
    But sources said coaches had been trying to motivate Cason to improve and that they felt it hadn't happened. He also made a couple mistakes in the Denver game that may have prompted the move, more than a week (and a game) after Gregory had started working in as the No. 1 nickel in practice.
    Cason, whose two interceptions lead the team, is clearly still reeling. He spent hours last week assessing his situation and trying to figure out what he did wrong.
    “I depended on the coaches to dictate to me how I'm going to play without playing like I did to get here,” said Cason, who at Arizona in 2007 was the Thorpe Award winner as the nation's top collegiate defensive back. “ . . . No one can teach me to play with instincts. It's on me to go out and make plays.”
    He spoke evenly after Wednesday's practice, vowing to return to the player he knows he can be, the player he has always been.
    “It helps me because it shows me some adversity I haven't had in the league yet,” he said. “What this is doing for me – and I'm not worried about anybody else – it's showing me how I (got) here. It wasn't the coaches here that got me here. It was my own hard work, the things I've done, my family, my father, the people who have supported me for so long in this journey to get here.
    “If you put me in a position like this, with my back against the wall, I'm going to fight back at all costs. I don't have to say anything. I don't have to bad-mouth anybody. I keep going about my business. I'm very confident in myself, very confident in my abilities. I'm never going to let anyone bring me down. My head has never got down.”
    What that means for this season will have to play out. Turner talked of Gregory needing to continue to play better and of the possibility Cason will need to fill in at cornerback if a starter were injured. This move has not altered Cason's future beyond '09.
    “I don't think of long term,” Cason said. “I think of what I am doing right now. I'm going to stay passionate about what I do – no matter who is here, who's not. That's me. That's the passion I have for what I do and proving to people what I can do. I'm very capable. Whatever you do to me isn't going to affect my confidence or how I view myself as a player in this league.”
  2. sdbound

    sdbound Well-Known Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    ...or if a particular starter continues to play poorly.
  3. Chargers-Superhero

    Chargers-Superhero Just win the Damn SB !!!

    Mar 10, 2007
    Cason will be fine. Jammer didn't light the world on fire in his first 2 years in the league.
  4. Zeus

    Zeus BoltTalker

    Nov 21, 2006
    I am sure they will use Cason in certain packages.

    If Cromartie doesn't get better he won't be signed.

    If he asks for huge money he won't be signed unless he can return to the fluke year form.
  5. Bergo23

    Bergo23 BoltTalker

    Sep 28, 2006
    Steve Gregory is prolly apt to make less mental mistakes than Cason apparently made against Denver.

    There were some key 3rd down conversions that Cason missed his assignments.

    Antoine Cason will be a stud in this league, he is far from an AJ bust.

    I think the best thing for AJ to do with both Merriman and Cro is to tag them such that we find out what other teams are willing to pay. AJ will match if he or Spanos is willing to match, kinda like Dielman.

    For now, its fun to watch Gregory do his thing...his instincts are good and he packs a punch. Solid player I hope we keep for many years to come.
  6. Skuzzlebutt

    Skuzzlebutt BoltTalker

    Jan 10, 2007
    Best case? Cason is just better suited to be a true CB and not cover the slot. The Jammer reference could apply and he just needs some seasoning.

    Worst case? Cason hasn't shown the potential to compare him to Jammer and this demotion signals another busted 1st round pick from AJ.

    Currently I am guessing closer to best case than worst. Here's to hoping!
  7. nickelbolt

    nickelbolt Fuggedaboutit

    Aug 20, 2006
    "For now" :yes:
  8. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Cason is gonna be just fine as long as he doesn't let this get him down. Cro could be gone next year for all we know.

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