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Fresh Start for Bob Sanders

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Blue Bolt, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Oct 28, 2009
    Sanders gets fresh start with Chargers
    Chargers strong safety Bob Sanders looks on from the sidelines
    during Thursday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.

    SAN DIEGO – Since 2007, Bob Sanders has torn tendons in both biceps, sprained an ankle and blown out a knee.

    No longer can he find consolation in saying, "You shoulda seen the other guys."

    In leaving a trail of skittish tight ends and furtive wide receivers and tiptoeing running backs, Sanders basically tackled himself out of Indianapolis.

    The 2007 NFL Defensive Player of the Year has been in the league for seven seasons.

    "But it's like I've only played four," he said the other day at Chargers Park.

    Sanders started once in 2010, twice in 2009, six times in 2008. Just twice has Sanders been able to answer the bell 14 times in a season, probably because he rings it so resoundingly.

    It would not be a gross exaggeration to call Sanders the most influential 5-foot-8 defensive player in NFL history.

    After four quarters of his force, most ballcarriers felt 5-8, too.

    It's called field presence. But it doesn't mean much when he's absent.

    "I haven't really gotten a good hit on anybody since last preseason, when we played Green Bay," Sanders said.

    "I still have something left in the tank. I just have to make sure I'm focused and prepared. This is a totally new system. It's a transition, but I love it.

    "We always looked at San Diego as a very strong team. We felt they could go to the Super Bowl any year we played them.

    "We didn't listen to what people said about the Powder Blue, and that they were soft. No one in the NFL is soft. Some teams get a bad rap."

    And some teams keep losing playoff games at home, and keep waltzing through September and October before they decide to start playing.

    That's not a bad rap. That's the definition of the Chargers, who missed the 2010 playoffs even though they led the NFL in offense and defense, a spectacular trick in a city that's weary of them.

    No one is sugarcoating the urgency. It's time to get to a Super Bowl before the franchise inevitably drifts toward Farmers Field in downtown L.A.

    San Diego is nowhere near a stadium deal. The Chargers can escape their lease in a two-month window beginning in February and, although it would cost them $24 million, the potential revenues in L.A. are miles beyond that.

    So "tomorrow" is not a particularly important concept for the city or its new free safety.

    Sanders' impact is visceral, but also measurable.

    In 2006, the Colts slunk into the playoffs with a cheesy defense that gave up 173 rushing yards per game.

    Sanders hadn't played all season. He showed up for the postseason and they cut that figure to 73 a game, and won a Super Bowl.

    "That wasn't just me," Sanders said. "The media made it out to be that I changed things so much. But I just wanted to change the mentality of the guys around me.

    "They didn't want me to make every tackle. They knew I was going to get to the ball."

    Philip Rivers saw it when he faced the Colts in two playoff games.

    "He sees run and he knows where he's going," the Chargers quarterback said.

    "He's unpredictable, and he covers ground so fast. I told him it's nice to have him on my side."

    In the Chargers' first practice, wide receiver Vincent Jackson caught a pass and turned.

    "And I was blinded by this dreadlocks explosion," he said later.

    In his first game at Iowa, Sanders ran down on a kickoff and smacked Kansas State's David Allen hard enough to sideline him for three games.

    He was voted Iowa's all-time safety, and Iowa only had to out-recruit Ohio U. to get him.

    Joe Moore, the former Pitt and Notre Dame line coach, was an assistant at Cathedral Prep in Erie, Pa. He had recruited Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz.

    "He told Coach Ferentz he had this guy nobody wants who can change the pace of the game," Sanders said. "My first training camp was like war. I had to make a name."

    The Colts picked Sanders in the second round. "If you didn't have eyes you could hear the thud when he hit people," said Bill Polian, the general manager.

    Coach Tony Dungy found instant work for Sanders and called him "The Eraser."

    Sanders' mom would not watch him play in high school, fearing injury. Toughness in the family wasn't a problem. His father worked at an Erie iron works, and the parents raised eight children.

    The Chargers aren't soft, but there is a layer of superficiality that will not disappear until they win the biggest games.

    Bob Sanders can strip that away. First he has to get past the sideline.
  2. Dublin Bolt

    Dublin Bolt BoltTalker

    Aug 12, 2006
    'The Eraser, The Dreadlocked Explosion............' Love it.
  3. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

    Mar 5, 2006
    Lets just hope we can call him healthy.
  4. Mobius

    Mobius BoltTalker

    Sep 5, 2006
    Couldn't agree more. It's hard to remember how good he was cause of the injuries.

    Sent from my Epic Android using Tapatalk
  5. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Sanders & Spikes are gonna teach this D what attitude means.

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

    Jul 11, 2006
    It would be great to see the TUDE tradition on defense being born and I'm hoping Ski and a few of the above mentioned players instill it. I think Gen. Patton said something to the effect " we aren't going to defend anything, we're going to attack and then we'll attack some more"

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