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Jyles Tucker still growing, learning

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Aug 19, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Casey Pearce
    Posted Aug 18, 2009

    Linebacker Jyles Tucker has made it his goal to pack a bigger punch in his third NFL season.

    Chargers outside linebacker Jyles Tucker[​IMG] had one main goal this offseason, and Head Coach Norv Turner’s words following Saturday’s preseason opener made it sound like Tucker is making good on his new-season resolution.

    “I think Jyles played more physical than he’s played,” Turner said.

    That was precisely what Tucker set out to accomplish as he enters his third NFL season. He aims to deliver the blows more than absorb them and counterpunch rather than relying on his athleticism to win battles.

    “I feel like I tried to finesse things too much last year,” Tucker said. “If you’re too much finesse, you get punched in the mouth. This year, I’m going to hit them in the mouth. That’s how it’s supposed to be.”

    According to Tucker, his 2008 season was a huge learning experience. He spent six games on the active roster as a rookie and then was thrust into the starting lineup a year ago when Shawne Merriman[​IMG] was lost for the season. It was a trial by fire for the young linebacker and he believes he’ll greatly benefit this season from the lessons he learned.

    “As a rookie, I wanted to come in here and go hard but I didn’t always understand exactly what I was doing,” Tucker said. “Last year, I knew what was coming but I tried to finesse them. This year, I know what’s coming, I’m going hard, and I’m going to bring it every play.”

    Tucker is well aware that Merriman’s return, the addition of Larry English[​IMG] and the growth of other players will likely mean he could get fewer snaps on defense in his third season.

    “I’ve never been a selfish player,” Tucker said. “Of course I want to be out there and help this team, but if that means special teams, I’ll bring it on every kick. If it’s in certain situations on defense, you’re going to get all of me.”

    English, Vasquez close

    Linebacker Larry English (hamstring) and guard Louis Vasquez[​IMG] (foot) weren’t able to practice Tuesday, but Turner remains optimistic that the team’s top two draft picks will be back sometime this week.

    “I think it’s a little early,” Turner said. “I said I was hoping midweek, and to me that’s Wednesday or Thursday and maybe that’s even too early.”

    Merriman worked on the side during Tuesday morning’s practice, and a day after returning to the field, defensive end Jacques Cesaire[​IMG] was held out of the morning session.

    “He was a little sorer than we would have liked, so it was just to make sure,” Turner said.

    Great mentor

    Chargers wide receivers coach Charlie Joiner is widely considered one of the greatest route runners to ever play the game, and Turner sees some of Joiner’s expertise rubbing off on Vincent Jackson[​IMG].

    “I think Charlie has helped him get to another level in terms of understanding route running,” Turner said. “He’s a big man and for him to do the things he does changing direction, it’s pretty amazing and it’s something he’s worked real hard at.”

    Last season in Jackson’s first year under Joiner’s instruction, he posted more receiving yards (1,098) than he had in his two previous year combined and he had career highs in catches and touchdowns.

    Feeling good

    Safety Steve Gregory[​IMG] called his big hit on Seahawks receiver Deon Butler and subsequent pass breakup “one you dream about.”

    “You don’t even feel it,” Gregory said. “You just kind of run through the guy and you get excited.”

    Gregory said he was able to make the play in part because he correctly predicted Butler’s route. He also came away with an interception in Tuesday morning’s practice when he did the same. In Gregory, Turner sees a player that is playing with great confidence.

    “Guys continue to get better and guys that work hard at it see things faster,” Turner said. “They play, they’ve got the experience, they react quicker. He’s playing with great confidence right now.”

    Gregory’s secondary mate, Kevin Ellison[​IMG], also had a big hit in Saturday’s preseason game. On Tuesday, Turner gave an update on the team’s sixth-round pick.

    “Kevin is making progress and he’s going through a little bit of a transition to being a complete safety,” Turner said. “The safety position he’s played in the past is semi-linebacker. I think he’s doing a good job making that transition and he obviously showed that he’s a physical player and he’ll go hit you. He’s getting better in his coverage every day and I like what he does.”

    Special guests

    Fresh after hitting a walk-off home run Monday night, Padres outfielder Kyle Blanks took in practice at Chargers Park Tuesday morning. He was joined by pitcher Mike Adams.

    Also on hand Tuesday was former Chargers offensive coordinator Ernie Zampese, a good friend and mentor of Turner’s.
  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    I thought Applewhite out-played Tucker Sat. night. One close-up of Tucker showed him looking gassed as hell.

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