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Mouton preparing to make an impact

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Blue Bolt, May 24, 2011.

  1. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Chargers draft pick Mouton makes hits, not noise
    BY KEVIN ACEE
    TUESDAY, MAY 24, 2011 AT 2:09 P.M.


    [​IMG]
    Nick Oza / for The Union-Tribune
    Chargers rookie Jonas Mouton works out in Scottsdale, Ariz.



    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The team was characterized by its vertical offense, known for its record-setting quarterback.

    That was all well and good, but it lacked something.

    Until Jonas Mouton came along.

    “We were definitely a finesse team,” Venice High School football coach Angelo Gasca said. “Then Jonas comes and it changes the whole mentality of our team -- his physicality, his willingness. He loves to hit … If he got a chance to hit somebody, it wasn’t whether or not he would make the tackle, it was whether or not the guy would get up.”

    Seven years later, after going to the University of Michigan as one of the most sought-after recruits in the nation and coming to the Chargers as one of the most-debated picks of the NFL Draft, Mouton is returning to Southern California to play for another team in need of that certain something.

    If the downward trending of the Chargers defense’s physical prowess and occasional dominance can be traced to the demise of Shawne Merriman’s lower extremities, which made him a non-factor and turned his roar into teasing and frustrating background noise, then there just might be a revival coming in an underappreciated arrival.

    Mouton, the second-round draft pick so many think the Chargers overspent for, might just be lights out.

    The first play of his first game for Venice, Mouton knocked out a ball carrier from Carson.

    “Out,” Gasca said. “Twitching.”

    So, like Lights Out. Without the drama or tattoos. And at inside linebacker instead of outside.

    While not a single speck of ink adorns Mouton’s NFL-ready body, he does have a nickname, if not as garish or as widely known as Shawne Merriman’s moniker.

    A Michigan teammate took to calling him the Assassin as Mouton was leading the Big Ten in tackles in 2010, necessitating smelling salts for opponents a few times in college too. And there was the one-game suspension his junior year for hitting Notre Dame center Eric Olsen.

    There was no flag thrown, but film clearly showed Mouton taking a sort of swing and striking Olsen at the end of a play.

    “It was heat of the moment,” Mouton said with a shrug. “That kind of stuff happens all the time throughout the course of a game.”

    So it wasn’t really a punch then?

    “If an uppercut is considered a punch, it was a punch,” Mouton said.

    Then he smiled, a rare acknowledgment he has allowed a peek into his psyche during an afternoon visit last week in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he is training until the NFL lockout is over and “they call me and tell me to come to San Diego.”

    When he does arrive, it will be with figurative baggage hoisted on him by those who follow the NFL, in particular those who cherish the Chargers.

    Near as anyone can tell, no other team had Mouton valued as highly as the Chargers, though the New Orleans Saints, at least, are said to have been pondering taking him in the third round. While a draft pick’s supposed value is an assumption based largely on the chatter of media “experts,” who said Mouton lacked straight-line speed, the linebacker himself was expecting to go no higher than the third.

    Whether the Chargers reached to grab Mouton can be debated forever, even if he were to fill these prophetic words from Memphis defensive coordinator Jay Hopson, who was Mouton’s linebackers coach for two seasons at Michigan:

    “I think they got the best linebacker, totally, in the draft. Jonas is so explosive. He has such a great upside athletically; he’s a guy who is going to continue to flourish. He’s going to go do it. I think they got a Pro Bowler.”

    As for the weight of expectations – negative and positive – Mouton claims to not care.

    “I don’t even think about it,” he said. “I’m confident in my talent and what I do. I just play football.”

    And that’s the thing.

    “It is what it is,” he said with such nonchalance and absence of malice it was as if it were the first time it had ever been said.

    Getting to the NFL is the culmination of a dream. After not returning home from Ann Arbor his final four years of college, intent on being around his team and focusing on football, Mouton is pleased to be coming back to the sunshine and to play where his family and a small circle of friends can attend his home games.

    But he also sees it as nothing really new.

    “I’m excited to get down there and get in drills and practice,” he said. “But I’m just going to do the things that got me here.”

    Mouton talks a good game, largely by barely talking.

    Stranger still, he makes you believe by letting you down.

    He is nearly impossible to pin down on times and dates to meet. The resistance is passive but palpable, and it is punctuated by his tardiness. But once he is in your presence, he beguiles you with an earnest apology and understated but indisputable interest, rare for someone who just turned 23.

    His part of a conversation consists mostly of him listening with an intense stare – not menacing but seemingly daring you to use too many words before you get to the point and stop talking. Then comes his answer, long only ever on its economy of words.

    Somehow, even in his brevity, he is not rude. He’s actually engaging. He asks questions and seems engrossed, just not for very long.

    You part company thinking that might be the best worst interview you’ve ever had – with the friendliest unfriendly young man you’ve ever broken bread with.

    It also occurs to you that these traits were a positive from the Chargers’ perspective. It’s quite simple, really.

    “I don’t really like attention,” he said. “… I just do my own thing.”

    It is possible when they decided to take Mouton with the 61st selection last month’s NFL Draft the Chargers’ thinking was something like: “We might be able to get a better player, but we won’t get a better fit for our team.” Maybe, they gambled a tiny bit on this kid because they know how someone plays the game sometimes trumps talent.

    “I’ve never coached in the NFL,” said Eastern Michigan head coach Ron English, who was defensive coordinator at Michigan and primarily responsible for recruiting Mouton. “I’ve just coached a lot of players who have gone on to the NFL. There’s the physical part, and the mental part.”

    English cited Marlin Jackson and Leon Hall, former Wolverines who had the maturity and makeup to learn from mistakes and handle the expectations of the NFL.

    “Those guys handled not only the physical part but the mental part,” English said. “… I think Jonas is that kind of guy.”

    It was English who moved Mouton from safety to linebacker when he arrived at Michigan.

    Mouton, now 240 pounds with room to grow, loves that he’s in on every play as a linebacker. But he says matter-of-factly, without any indication he’s trying to be funny, that “Safety is fun … You get an extra five or 10 yards to run and hit somebody.”

    The kid who addressed his lack of straight-line speed by saying maybe he would have run faster if they had him chase a rabbit meant that he only likes to run for the purpose of chasing someone – for the purpose of hitting someone hard.

    “It’s what you’re supposed to do,” he said.

    For that reason, Gasca would let his Venice players know the past four years when Michigan was on TV.

    “If you want to see how to play, watch Michigan … and Jonas will show you how to play,” Gasca would tell them. “… I love to watch him play, because he plays so hard. There are only a few people walking around like that – that are special – making the big play, the big hit, getting teammates fired up.”
     
  2. RipTheJacker

    RipTheJacker Well-Known Member

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    Whether or not he ends up being a good player, im just happy AJ is bringing guys with a serious, intense, no-nonsense attitude. No more of these showboating wannabe celebrities. Bring in more guys who just want to hit people, thats something this team has been missing since godfrey and foley. I was never a big foley fan, but thats the attitude we need.

    Larry English seemed to have that attitude when he was drafted, hopefully if hes healthy this year he starts to show it
     
  3. 1 COOL GUY 13x world Chmp

    1 COOL GUY 13x world Chmp Jesus gives wisdom if you pray for it! Banned

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    Sounds like my kind of player :). Nice post as usual bluebolt!
     
  4. FCBolt

    FCBolt Well-Known Member

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    The quotes from college coaches were good, the trying-to-sell-us on his intensity was good, the high school stuff was ******* rubbish. Dude must really have not given Acee much if had to go back to his high school years for lines of type.
     
  5. FCBolt

    FCBolt Well-Known Member

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    He's a second rounder and AJ has been missing left and right the past 4 years.
    He better be a good player.
    If all he does is ride pine, who gives a toss about his attitude? He can go gleam on the golf carts with Marty for what attitude + no talent is worth.
     
  6. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    At least, Mouton sounds like a kid who might be able to survive without the rookie symposium........ #imjustguessing ;)
     
  7. FCBolt

    FCBolt Well-Known Member

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    Right. Great. Drafting kids for their future in finance. Excellent.
     
  8. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    I'm more concerned with them not getting arrested, than not going broke. ;)
     
  9. FCBolt

    FCBolt Well-Known Member

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    What makes you think Mouton isn't ever going to get a DUI? It's not like AJ hasn't missed on his assessments of 'character' in the past.
     
  10. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    I don't, it just doesn't sound like partying is foremost on his mind. He's spent his time during the lockout training in Arizona at the place he prepared for the combine. Sounds like he spends most of his time in the gym, during a time when there is no structure being provided by the team. That's a good sign in my view.
     
  11. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

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    Yep. Kid looks like a squeaky clean STs ace to me! :)
     
  12. RipTheJacker

    RipTheJacker Well-Known Member

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    And who says he has no talent or that he will be riding the pine? Not only does he have no one proven infront of him at this moment (Butler is his only competition at this moment), but hes also the highest ILB AJ has ever drafted, so that tells me that not only do the coaches/AJ have high hopes for him, but that he will start week 1 unless we sign a vet
     
  13. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I'm betting that he won't get dragged around like Cooper.

    vBookie, anyone?
     
  14. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    Now that's what I'm looking for. A headache waiting for a place to happen!!!
     
  15. Joy Division

    Joy Division Slightly-known Member

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    I'm convinced. Somewhere in Asia, my Mouton jersey is being crafted at this very moment.
     
  16. Enormo

    Enormo BoltTalker

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    Weird. I'm preparing for the exact opposite.
     
  17. AnteaterCharger

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

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    This is before the NFL draft and then immediately after, the only players who don't spend that time foremost at the gym etc are players like Leaf and Russell who turned into busts. At least this puts him out of the immediate "he's going to fail" category, he's still in the "he's not that damn talented" category as far as i'm concerned
     
  18. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    And Cooper was?........ ;)
     
  19. AnteaterCharger

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

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    a find as a UDFA that wasn't drafted in the second round when he wasn't scheduled to go there

    we did that instead with Courtney van Buren in the third, that went well (fail)

    Btw has anyone seen these highlights of him knocking people out. There's little on him on even youtube
     
  20. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    My point was that Cooper is the guy he'd be replacing, if he actually got to start. We all know how the coaches loved Cooper's understanding of the game, but he was never a physical player, even before the injuries piled up. Mouton, at least, has a rep as an aggressive hitter. That in itself would be a welcome change at the ILB position.
     
  21. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Welcome for us fans & most football players. Goodell? Apparently not so much since he'd apparently prefer to feed the NFL war chest via fines than let men play a game that they've been trained to play.

    As for Cooper - get him out NOW. Ive been tired of seeing his *** get drug around. At least Donnie got interceptions. So much is made of Cooper calling signals, lining guys up, etc. I have to wonder - was anyone else prepared the way that he was? I have a hard time believing that he is some sort of defensive football savant.
     
  22. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    And even if he was, he'd be better off as an assistant coach at this point.
     
  23. Savage Lizard

    Savage Lizard Charger fan at 7000'

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    Don't fines go to various NFL charities? I don't think fines go into a war chest of any kind.
     
  24. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    They go where lord Goodell says they go.
     
  25. FCBolt

    FCBolt Well-Known Member

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    You said "whether or not he's a good player", if he's not good, he'll ride pine. And it'll be a crap pick.

    There's no way he starts week 1. That's insanity. Unless you're talking about the 2012 season.
     
  26. FCBolt

    FCBolt Well-Known Member

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    I agree with that--he's a hard hitter.
    But he takes bad angles and hits the wrong gap a lot.
    I'm betting unless he sees some NFL coaches pretty damn soon, he's going to miss as many tackles as Cooper.
     
  27. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Technique can be taught.

    Tenacity cannot.
     
  28. FCBolt

    FCBolt Well-Known Member

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    Agree with that too. We'll see if he learns. But the way things are going, we won't know until next year...
     
  29. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    That part I can't debate. I hope that the coaches getting involved with their brief may spark some movement.
     

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