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Season of change at right tackle

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Nov 26, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Casey Pearce
    Posted Nov 25, 2009

    Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner said Wednesday that Brandyn Dombrowski will likely start at right tackle Sunday against the Chiefs, but the club hopes to work newly-signed veteran Jon Runyan in the lineup soon.

    Prior to last week’s game in Denver, Brandyn Dombrowski[​IMG] took nearly every first-team snap at right tackle in practice for two days but ended up not starting in the game after Jeromey Clary[​IMG] was healthy enough to do so.

    Dombrowski’s work was hardly in vain, though. He’ll likely make his first career start at right tackle Sunday against the Chiefs, which meant he essentially got a bit head start on his preparation.

    “It’s crazy how things happen,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “We were prepared to play with Brandyn (last week). Once Jeromey was able to go Friday, obviously we were going to go that route. It bought a week for Brandyn. He’ll be a week better. He’ll prepare again this week the same way and he’ll be ready to play.”


    Dombrowski won’t know for sure if he’ll get the nod against the Chiefs until late in the week. On Tuesday, the Chargers signed veteran tackle Jon Runyan[​IMG], an experienced 14-year veteran who hasn’t played yet this season. Runyan may eventually be the starter, but Dombrowski will likely fill the role until Runyan is ready.

    “Last week gave us an extra week to prepare (Dombrowski),” Turner said. “He had a good day today. I think he’s got a good feel for what we’re doing. Jon Runyan, we’re going to get him up to speed as quickly as we can and then we’ll make a decision late in the week.”

    Dombrowski spent most of the offseason working at left tackle. Then he was called to action at right guard when Louis Vasquez[​IMG] went down in the season opener, and the San Diego State alum started two games in Vasquez’s place.

    Turner has seen Dombrowski handle the moves like teams need reserve linemen to do and he’s seen the first-year pro grow quickly.

    “He’s a talented, physical young player,” Turner said. “If you would have asked me that question in August, I would have said he’s a year away from playing, but that changes. It changed the first night of the season. He’s handled things extremely well. He gets a lot of help and encouragement from the offensive linemen and he’s just done what we’ve asked him to do.”

    As for Runyan, he practiced with the Chargers for the first time Wednesday. Turner got a close look at the skill set that has made the Michigan alum one of the best right tackles in the NFL over the past decade. Turner said the Chargers were fortunate that someone of Runyan’s caliber was available at this point in the season.

    “Just watching him out there today, he’s got awfully quick hands, he’s got awfully long arms,” Turner said. “He obviously knows how to play. It’s a matter of him getting our terminology, getting comfortable with it and then we’ll see how quickly he’s comfortable playing. I don’t know that it will be this week, but I would think it would be pretty soon.”

    Runyan was courted by the Chargers in September but wasn’t very interest in a reserve role. When the situation changed this week after Clary was placed on “Reserved-Injured,” it became a good fit for Runyan.

    “In my heart I know I’m capable of starting,” Runyan said. “Not jumping on a backup job at the time was in my plan because I knew eventually someone would get injured and there would be an opportunity. That just took forever.”

    Runyan, who will turn 36 Friday, brings a wealth of experience to the table but hasn’t played this season. He underwent microfracture surgery on his knee in January and knows that age and health kept him from immediately finding a starting job, but he knows he brings some unique characteristics to the table.

    “It’s being injured. It’s being of my age,” Runyan said. “There are a lot of factors that go into it, but ultimately I have a track record that a lot of people don’t have. I was kind of leaning on that. There weren’t many other people leaning on it with me.”

    For the last 10 years, Runyan has thrived in Philadelphia’s West Coast offense, and he’ll spend his first few days in San Diego with his nose in the Chargers’ playbook.

    “It’s been 10 years since I transitioned out of another offense,” Runyan said. “Basically it’s the same type of stuff. It’s just learning the little nuances of everything, different tag names and a different numbering system. I’m sure I’ll make my handful of mistakes. The big thing is get the base stuff down and everything else will come too.”

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