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Shaun, not Shawne

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by RipTheJacker, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. RipTheJacker

    RipTheJacker Well-Known Member

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    Overshadowed by fellow LB Merriman, Phillips making a name for himself

    By Kevin Acee
    STAFF WRITER

    September 4, 2007
    Now that he is approaching the stratosphere he had long envisioned, Shaun Phillips finds himself humbled by its ramifications.

    He sees his bank balance, swollen by the contract he signed in February. He doesn't bother with price tags anymore. He looks outside his Poway home, and it doesn't look anything like South Jersey. He drives a car that cost more than most men spend on a lifetime of vehicles.

    But, even for someone who “always believed I was going to make it, always knew I was going to be a superstar” this is something else.

    “It really hasn't seeped in,” Phillips said as he steered his sleek, months-old black Bentley en route to a restaurant near the Chargers practice facility. “And I'm not at the point in my career where I want to be at as far as being a player. I'm not going to say I don't deserve the money, but I want to feel I earned it. I only started (being a starter) a year ago. I haven't accomplished near what I want to accomplish.”

    What happened in 2006 was just a knee-deep exploration into the water, he promises.

    “I play to be a superstar,” he said. “That's how I've always been.” When a man has big plans and plays alongside the outsized personality that is Shawne Merriman, there is no limiting his drive. There will be no resting on a glorious coming out season.

    While there is no way to diminish what Merriman did in 2007 – 17 sacks in 12 games – it was Phillips who was consistently making big plays to help the Chargers to their league-best 14-2 record.

    His sack, forced fumble (and recovery) at the 9-yard line set up the go-ahead touchdown in the Chargers' wild victory at Cincinnati. The next week, in another crazy comeback win, Phillips sacked Jake Plummer on the game's final play after the Broncos had driven close to scoring range.

    He goaded Ben Roethlisberger into a game-sealing interception against Pittsburgh, tipped a pass that Luis Castillo intercepted against San Francisco, tipped another pass Quentin Jammer intercepted against Oakland.

    Phillips had a sack in nine of the 14 games he played in, missing two games with a strained calf. He finished with 11 1/2 sacks, six tackles behind the line of scrimmage, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and he deflected a half-dozen passes at or behind the line.

    “I have always been one to try to make plays,” he said. “No. 1, it helps your team. No. 2, that's how you get noticed.”

    This hasn't exactly come out of nowhere.

    Starting just three games in '05, Phillips ranked second on the team with seven sacks.

    As he might say: This isn't by accident, baby. This didn't just happen.

    You might not have known, but he knew.

    Tennessee offensive coordinator Norm Chow, who called him “the other guy” last season, might not have known his name. But teammates did.

    “From the moment I got here I noticed he wasn't treated by guys as a backup,” said defensive end Luis Castillo. “Everyone knew he had the ability to make plays. And he always had that confidence. He knew if he got the chance he'd never look back.”

    Phillips played a lot in 2005 in place of Steve Foley, who was hobbled most of the season with a groin injury. Foley returned healthy for training camp in 2006 and was set to start. But a week before the season opener he was shot by an off-duty police officer and placed on injured reserve. Phillips was suddenly the starter, and he spoke and acted from that day as if he were a veteran of several seasons.

    “As far as playing, it was always part of my plan,” he said. “I figured I had to wait one more year and then I'd have the job. It just came earlier than expected.”

    It hasn't taken long for him to jump into his new world.

    Phillips spent the offseason putting to use a little of his newfound fame and fortune.

    He bought a car, bought a house for his mom, bought a house for himself and proceeded to add what he called “the bells and whistles.” He traveled Europe, hanging with Venus and Serena Williams at Wimbledon.

    He began a foundation – SPF95 – that will primarily help disadvantaged youth get involved in after-school sports programs.

    He attended the ESPYs, hanging out with people much more famous than he, and he came to his conclusion: “You find out they're just like you.”

    Maybe that is because Phillips always in a way saw himself as one of them, even when he wasn't.

    When he was a rookie he was at a La Jolla luxury car dealership with a teammate. A fourth-round draft pick out of Purdue, stuck behind the free agent Foley at the time, Phillips admired the fine automobiles that then were out of his price range.

    He actually said out loud that day, “I'll be back in three years and get one of these cars.”

    The day after he signed the contract that will bring him $16.6 million by the end of next season and potentially almost $28 million by 2012, he returned to buy his Bentley.

    “There are times I reflect on what I've accomplished,” he said. “I'll sit by the pool and think, 'Damn, I was a good player in the league.' ”

    But his sights are too high for him to rest. And he needs no more impetus than to look down his row of lockers or across the field in practice and games. He and Merriman push each other daily.

    “He gets all the credit he deserves,” Phillips said. “I get lost in the wind. That's OK. One of the things I use Lights for is to motivate me. I want to have superstar success. I just always felt I wanted to be the best. Competition is great to me. He just motivates me that way. He's the best in the league. I'm next. I'm telling you.”


    Cant even tell you guys how happy i was to see he re-signed here. I really believe, statistically, He will have a better year than Merriman
     
  2. Thunderstruck

    Thunderstruck BoltTalker

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    I said a long time ago that Phillips will be a pro-bowl caliber player. Ever since he started getting some real playing time in '05 good things always seem to happen with him right in the middle. First time I noticed him was actually in '04, when he came into the game (I think against the Broncos?) and tipped a pass at the LoS and then made an athletic diving interception of his own tip. You just don't see linebackers with that kind of athleticism too often and it leaps out at you.

    He's got the quickest first-step in the NFL and he makes big plays at big points in games. Losing him would have hurt badly. So yeah, I celebrated when he got extended...definitely. And I consider him to be just as important to our defense as Kris Dielman is to our offense--and maybe more important.
     
  3. ESD Bolts

    ESD Bolts BoltTalker

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    My favorite player on D... cant wait to see what he can do for this team this season
     
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  4. Kwak

    Kwak ....

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    Losing him would have sucked big time. It was a happy day for me as well when he was resigned. :abq2:

    Shaun and Shawne are going to put fear into QBs for the next several years. :phillips: :frightened: :merriman:
     
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  5. WonderSlug

    WonderSlug Well-Known Member

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    To me, Phillips has speed and acceleration. He's often faster off the line than Merriman with a quicker burst. Many times you'll seem him blow by the blocking OL (usually the right tackle) and make him look like he's standing in quicksand.

    Merriman has speed and power. He doesn't accelerate as quickly as Phillips, but often he'll hit the RB or QB with a lot of force. He'll bull rush his blockers backwards frequently or even use an arm swipe to bat them out of his way.

    The two combine to be one of the most fearsome pass-rushing duos in the league. :yes: :bolt: :abq2: :abq1:
     
  6. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    Phillips was good to begin with, I always like this kid for the drive he possesses on the field. We seem to be in a different gear when he's out there and I picked that up right away. I'm happy for him and the Bolt's cause it's guys like him that motivate other's to play harder when the chips are down.:bolt: :icon_toast:
     
  7. WonderSlug

    WonderSlug Well-Known Member

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    The fact that he and Merriman have a healthy rivalry to see who does better on the field each week helps the team a lot. :yes: :tup:
     
  8. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    I see Phillips as a turnover machine. He will change the course of the game and be disruptive to the offense all game long. Just think, we ain't even talking Merriman or the rest of the crew.:bolt:
     
  9. TheLash

    TheLash Well-Known Member

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    The Other Guy Rules!:abq2:

    :abq1: Release the Shauwnes!:abq1:
     

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