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Linebacker unit a strength in 2012?

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Buck Melanoma, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    CHARGERS: Bolts expect big things from linebackers
    [​IMG]

    Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips. BILL WECHTER | NCT file photo


    SAN DIEGO ---- The Chargers' linebacker corps was once a great source of intimidation. That was especially true in the mid-2000s, when the likes of Steve Foley, Shaun Phillips and a healthy Shawne Merriman provided pressure off the edge.
    Sack totals were high, fronted by an athletic group of linebackers who helped produced a whopping 61 in 2006. Numbers have dropped in recent seasons, including a pedestrian 32 in 2010. The team struggled with injuries, especially on the outside, and didn't have the depth to compensate for such setbacks.
    This year, however, the Chargers believe they do, especially on the outside.
    "We've upgraded our speed, our athleticism, and we've certainly helped our depth," Chargers coach Norv Turner said. "When this team has a great pass rush in 2007 and 2006 ---- before I got here ---- you had four or five outside linebackers who could bring it. There was always a good mix of rolling guys in and out. If we can do that, it would be ideal. We have five outside linebackers who are very physical players who have a real presence about them."
    It may not be as flashy as the 2006 unit, but they might be better. Phillips is healthy after being slowed by foot problems last season. Antwan Barnes is ready to meet his 11-sack total of a year ago. Jarret Johnson was brought in from Baltimore, Melvin Ingram was drafted in the first round and the Chargers believe former first-round pick Larry English can contribute if he can stay healthy. :cautious:
    "This is one of the most talented linebacker corps I've ever been a part of," Johnson said. "We have a good mix of youth and experience, of pass-rushing and run-stopping ability. I like how we've grown during the offseason and progressed during the early portions of camp."
    That is lofty praise, considering Johnson played with guys like Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs with the Ravens. He lauded the overall depth, Ingram's potential and the blue-collar attitude the entire group provides.
    Players on the inside should not be forgotten, for they'll be counted on to cover and assist on third-down defense. Takeo Spikes and Donald Butler will start again on the inside, with Jonas Mouton and veteran import Demorrio Williams backing them up, respectively.
    "The talent is very diverse, and everyone brings a unique perspective to the table," Spikes said. "We have more guys and greater depth. But it's one thing to have depth. It's another to have depth with playing experience. That's what we have now. That's why I'm excited about what we have here."
    Veteran depth is present at every position, a luxury the Chargers were not afforded in 2011. Injuries to Phillips and English forced situational pass rushers like the since-departed Travis LaBoy and Barnes to play away from their strengths.
    Johnson, by contrast, allows others to play to theirs. He's skilled at setting an edge on the strong side, stopping the run and covering well against the pass. Whether the others can provide dynamic play off of Johnson's foundation remains to be seen.
    The linebackers are focused on growing together and into established roles as training camp progresses.
    "We have a bunch of guys who are football players first," Phillips said. "They've done a great job around here of getting guys who want to hit and practice hard and, most of all, guys that love winning football games above all else.
    "It's about building a foundation. You can't win a game when there aren't any on the schedule. Right now, we need to win on the practice field. This is a six-month deal, and we need to make the most of each phase and build upon what we've done in the past."
     
  2. Sandolf

    Sandolf Blue Moon Rising

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    Couldn't resist the editorial opinion sir?
     
  3. Dublin Bolt

    Dublin Bolt BoltTalker

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    This Larry English lad. He is starting to get my goat.
     
  4. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    It's been earned.
     
  5. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    I will believe it when I see it. ;)
     
  6. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    Just get through camp is all I ask at this point.
     
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  7. BoltsFanUK

    BoltsFanUK Well-Known Member

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    our linebackers should be fine this year with or without English
     
  8. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    At this point, that hardly qualifies as editorializing....... #imjustsaying ;)
     
  9. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    they have the depth, FINALLY, to ensure that if they lose English (when?) they are more than sufficiently covered. They don't have to overuse a bad backup like Laboy or bring an overmatched UDFA in Gamble
     
  10. boltfanatik

    boltfanatik Toxic Minority Member

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    I'm still not sold..just sayin:whistling: For now all I have is hope.
     
  11. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Michael Gehlken@UTgehlken
    Chargers running backs doing pass protection drill vs. LBs. Melvin Ingram smoked Jacob Hester, Curtis Brinkley. Quick, violent hands.
     
  12. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    How much worse can Ingram be vs English & Laboy? That's upgrade in my book
     
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  13. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    The acquisition of Ingram & the jettison of LaBoy are both quality additions to the unit, IMO. If English can get/stay healthy & contribute, that's icing on the cake.
     
  14. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Ingram shakes off a flesh wound
    [​IMG]
    Chargers Melvin Ingram during practice on the first day of mini-camp on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. — K.C. Alfred


    There's a difference, Melvin Ingram says, to being injured and being hurt.
    On Thursday, he was the latter.
    The Chargers rookie outside linebacker was in visible pain at practice during an early team session. He went to the sideline, had his fingers taped, and finished the rest of the day despite a possibly dislocated knuckle.
    "If you can't play through a little pain," Ingram said, "then you can't play on this level of football.”
    The first-round draft pick stood out earlier in the day.
    In a one-on-one pass protection drill, a linebacker was designed to engage either a running back or tight end, shedding the block to get to the quarterback.
    Ingram made it past Jacob Hester and Curtis Brinkley on his first two turns, flashing the quick, violent hands that outside linebacker Jarret Johnson praised earlier this offseason.
    "How he engages blocks," Johnson said, "he's a physical dude. ... He's going to be a legit player in this league."
    Nuts 'n' Bolts
    The Chargers spent most of practice away from their base personnel Thursday, focusing on blitz, red-zone, short-yardage, and goal-line situations. Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin worked often with the first team in short yardage and goal line.
    Second-round pick Kendall Reyes saw time at first-team right defensive end, as Corey Liuget was sidelined with soreness. "I think he's getting better," coach Norv Turner said of Reyes. "He's got a long ways to go, but I think he's getting better. He's got some real natural skills."
    Wide receiver Mike Willie and safety Atari Bigby returned to practice. Bigby was eased back into action, held out of team drills. Wide receiver Eddie Royal (groin) returned to camp after being away due to family reasons. He is expected to miss one to two weeks, likely sidelining him for the Chargers' first preseason game Aug. 9

    Link
     
  15. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    I want to have a suffocating aggressive kick your arse defense and a strong line backing group is necessary and needs a strong defensive line also. Pag's is new on the job but comes from good stock and "if" he can put it all together I'll be one happy Bolt fan. they still need to get out of training camp, so I figure on just kicking back and watching it all flow.
     
  16. _Oz

    _Oz Banned Banned

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    We have another linebacker who can beat Jacob Hester! This year is going to be Super Duper!
     
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  17. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    What? Did he join 4H?
     
  18. Ikeman83

    Ikeman83 Werter Pöbel

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    I'm not going to lie, this doesn't exactly inspire awe and wonder in me either.
     
  19. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    So they compair the Ingramasaurus to a T-rex, and say its arms are too short... So tell me, did that stop the T Rex from being the an apex preditor for thousands of years?
     
  20. Ikeman83

    Ikeman83 Werter Pöbel

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    There's actually been some speculation that the T-Rex wasn't a predator, so much as a scavenger, and that it's short arms are evidence to this. If the T-Rex had been an apex predator, however, it would've been one for millions of years, rather than thousands.
     
  21. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    I would couter the contention about the arms and scavenger connection. Allisaurus, Taurasaurus, velociraptors ect which are widely accounted as preditors all had small arms. Also compair to a modern day bear. A bear is an apex preditor and a scavenger. There is no reason to believe that the T-Rex would not feed on carion, but hun then needed.
     
  22. Ikeman83

    Ikeman83 Werter Pöbel

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    That probably makes them all predator/scavengers, rather than disproving the T-rex as a scavenger. Again, it's not my theory, as I'm not a paleontologist.

    Velociraptor does not, however, appear to have short arms, and I have never heard of/could not find references to a "Taurasaurus".

    Either way, they all (assuming that Taurasaurus existed) sustained themselves for millions of years. Hopefully Ingram can sustain himself for 15.
     
  23. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    See Carnotaurus
     
  24. Ikeman83

    Ikeman83 Werter Pöbel

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    That's one funny looking dinosaur
     
  25. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Yup...
     
  26. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    CHARGERS: New defensive coordinator preaches technique, fundamentals and effort
    [​IMG]


    STF

    Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano during a recent practice. AP file photo


    Blackout looming

    The Chargers must sell 6,300 general tickets before Wednesday at 6 p.m. to lift the local television blackout for Saturday's preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm. If they don't, the game won't be shown in the San Diego, Los Angeles and Palm Sprins media markets.
    SAN DIEGO ---- John Pagano has been with the Chargers a long time.
    He started in 2002 as a defensive assistant and rose through the ranks from position coach to his new role as defensive coordinator.
    He worked with linebackers under Wade Phillips, Ted Cottrell, Ron Rivera and Greg Manusky before finally getting a shot at play-calling this offseason.
    He took so much from so many, and that includes his father, Sam, who was a legend at Fairview High in Colorado. His brother, Chuck, is the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts after a stint as the Baltimore Ravens' defensive coordinator.
    Pagano's defensive philosophy, however, is about getting the Chargers back to basics. Pagano broke it down to three simple things: technique, fundamentals and effort.
    "I have a philosophy I believe in," Pagano said. "Some of it's based on my father and what he did when I was growing up, but most of what we do here is the same thing I've been preaching from Day 1.
    "This defense will focus on the basics first. We must be rock solid in technique, fundamentals and effort. Everybody's talented at this level. Success comes down to how disciplined you are and how hard you're working. We're about accountability, communication and trust. Our philosophy is grounded in that."
    That doesn't mean Pagano's play-calling will be basic. He'll design game plans based upon what works for the group of healthy players available.
    Chargers fans long for a return to the Phillips era, when sack totals were high and the unit was exciting and pressure-packed.
    Pagano, who has been involved with a series of defensive philosophies, will craft his own based upon that experience.
    "You take ideas and stuff you need to work on," Pagano said. "We all have our ideas and different plans, but I've seen how it's supposed to look and how it's not supposed to look. It's something we're working at every day, to refine and improve this defense."
    He's building a foundation in this training camp based on discipline and accountability for all.
    "I love what we're doing as a defensive staff, and it's great that our players are really buying in," Chargers head coach Norv Turner said. "We're very athletic and fast, and we have to use that to our advantage."
    Outside linebacker Shaun Phillips has championed Pagano's influence to many in recent seasons, and tries to be an extension of his coordinator on the field. Phillips has worked with Pagano since he was drafted in 2004, and Phillips credits his coach for steady improvement throughout his career. He lobbied for Pagano's promotion this offseason.
    "I believe in everything he teaches," Phillips said. "I've gotten better every year because he's worked with me and focused on those same principals. I've been with John as long as anybody here, and I believe in what he's doing. I try to lead by example and be a role model for those traits."
    Pagano, who was overlooked for the position last year in favor of longtime friend Manusky, said he believes he earned the promotion with a body of hard work. But, when he got the job, it wasn't a moment to celebrate.
    "You're always looking for the opportunity to take that next step," Pagano said. "Every season I've grown and evolved as a coach to prepare for this position. It's something I've looked forward to, but it wasn't a jump-for-joy moment. I was proud of the accomplishment, but I also understood that there's a lot of work we needed to do and things to get after."
    Just because Pagano is focused on fundamentals ---- improved tackling has been a real sticking point this camp ---- don't assume there aren't tricks up his sleeve. He has ornate blitzes in the playbook and favors physical, aggressive play from the secondary.
    But the best play call won't work if it's executed poorly or tackles aren't made. He's focused on his unit's strengths, which include depth in the front seven, athleticism and speed.
    The Chargers' defense has hit some roadblocks recently, with poor third-down defense in 2011 and high scoring allowed despite the fewest yards allowed in 2010.
    With Pagano at the helm and the personnel at his disposal, the Chargers believe they're ready to turn a corner.
    "We're brewing something special around here," Phillips said. "We don't know exactly how everything will turn out because we have so much work left to be done, but I'm on board and I'm looking forward to this long, fun ride we're about to have."
    Et cetera
    Chargers coach Norv Turner said LT Jared Gaither went to see an independent physician to get a second opinion on how best to alleviate the back spasms that have plagued him throughout training camp. Gaither will return to the team on Tuesday and should be able to practice next week. ... NT Antonio Garay (ankle) remains out and in a walking boot. WR Richard Goodman, RB Ryan Mathews (clavicle) and WR Eddie Royal (groin) remain out. FS Eric Weddle (hip) and K Nate Kaeding returned to work on Tuesday. TE Antonio Gates, ILBTakeo Spikes and WR Malcom Floyd received the day off for veteran rest.
     

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