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Larry English still learning complexities of new positions

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, May 30, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    CHARGERS: LB English still learning complexities of new positions as 2nd season approaches



    SAN DIEGO -- Larry English seemed to have his man covered.
    The Chargers outside linebacker dropped back in pass coverage early in the team's minicamp, and although he followed his man intently, quarterback Philip Rivers found an opening and completed the pass.
    "You've got to get deeper in coverage Larry," linebackers coach John Pagano said to the second-year pro. "You've got to take a better angle."
    There are many subtle nuances of playing linebacker for the Chargers. Complexity is the norm. Responsibilities are vast and varied. And even when the coverage seems good, it could almost always be better.
    The lengthy list of assignments is a far cry from English's college requirements. He was a defensive end at Northern Illinois, where his only job was rushing the quarterback.
    "That's really all I had to worry about," English said after Friday's practice, which concluded the team's three-day minicamp. "When you play linebacker, there's a whole lot more I had to take into account.
    "It's not just about pass coverage. It's also alignments and working more on the run game. It was different, and there was definitely a transition that had to take place."
    That proved to be a predicament for English, who was taken with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2009 draft. High expectations accompany lofty draft status, and transition periods don't facilitate the instant impact fans expect. It doesn't help English's case that 2005 first-round pick Shawne Merriman recorded 10 sacks as a rookie after transitioning from a college defense end.
    Because their backgrounds were similar, comparisons between English and Merriman were constant during a 2009 season in which English registered just two sacks.
    There was one major difference between the two rookie seasons. The role of the outside linebacker in current coordinator Ron Rivera's defense is different than it was in 2005 under then-defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Back then, Merriman rushed the quarterback on almost every snap. Now that same position must drop back in coverage, play the run more and become part of the line in nickel situations.
    "I don't know if people took that into account, but outside perception is not something I worry too much about," English said. "My only concern is getting better."
    By all accounts, he has.
    "Larry is a great example of a guy who comes in as a rookie and goes through a transition," Chargers coach Norv Turner said. "The things he did physically with us that he was used to doing, he did extremely well. With the things he had never done before, there were inconsistencies.
    "He's worked as hard as any guy we have this offseason, and I see great improvement in his overall game and I really think he'll have a significant impact in the upcoming season."
    English has worked tirelessly on improving his pass coverage, making better reads and anticipating the run. Getting to the quarterback, by contrast, is second nature.
    Ultimately, English was drafted to do all of it, and he believes he can.
    "I feel like the position fits my strengths," he said. "At some point, I'll get it to where I need to be and be more complete. There are still things I need to learn, but I know I'll be ready."
    He has to be ready quickly. Expectations for him haven't waned, and an standout season is required to keep the naysayers at bay.
    "It has to be," inside linebacker Stephen Cooper said. "Being a first-round draft pick, there's a lot of pressure on you to be an impact player. He has all the physical tools to be one. Now it's about owning up to your responsibilities within the defense and doing your job. In my opinion, he's ready to take the next step."
  2. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

    Jul 27, 2007
    This is a big year for LE to see if he's a legit OLB. He does have potential and this year we'll see if he was worth that 1st round pick. We also need him to step up in case Merriman is out of here next season which might happen.
  3. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

    Aug 3, 2006
    Guys a second year player now. He will be improved, but it may take another full season before he adjusts to instinctive play. Meanwhile, Merriman should be fully recovered.

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