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Shaun Phillips welcomes new blood

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Blue Bolt, May 24, 2012.

  1. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Oct 28, 2009
    CHARGERS: Phillips happy to welcome new blood

    SAN DIEGO ---- Shaun Phillips has been at times a one-man band. The Chargers have become increasingly reliant on him in recent seasons, as the only legitimate pass-rushing threat in the linebacker corps.

    The team's outside linebackers have also been plagued by injuries, thinning out an already-pedestrian position group. This offseason, reinforcements arrived. Phillips couldn't be happier.

    General manager A.J. Smith brought in respected veteran Jarret Johnson and drafted Melvin Ingram in the first round of the draft, adding quality and quantity on the outside. Former first-round pick Larry English is also back and healthy after two years battling foot injuries.

    "This offseason, work is going to be fun," Phillips said. "We have a bunch of guys that compete and want this team to succeed. We're going to push each other. These guys make it exciting to come to work each day because we all get along. We work together and encourage instead of criticize, but the expectations are high. We believe this group can do some special things."

    Ever since the effectiveness of former Charger Shawne Merriman waned due to injuries starting in 2008, the Chargers have looked to Phillips to lead the way. The players opposite him have been underwhelming during the Chargers' two-year playoff drought, a period in which Phillips' snap count has spiked.

    Antwan Applewhite started 13 games in 2010 and had just three sacks. Travis LaBoy had just one in 14 starts last season after presumed starter English went down with an injury, although Antwan Barnes had 11 in a role that increased when the ever-reliable Phillips was sidelined for four games with a foot ailment.

    This year, however, the Chargers have the depth they've been missing in recent seasons, when the pass rush lost its bite.

    "We had depth at linebacker my first few years, and it was a main reason why we were successful," Phillips said. "Over the last few seasons, it's been tough to weather the injuries we've had. But the additions we've made have been great. Each guy has a set of skills we can utilize. Together, we can be a strong unit."

    Phillips' early impressions of the newcomers have been positive. Johnson has proven to be as diligent as advertised, garnering respect for his insatiable work ethic. Ingram has flashed the athleticism that led many draft experts to call him the best edge rusher in the draft.

    "I'm going to work with him as well and teach him everything I know," Phillips said. "I'm sure Jarret will do the same, and hopefully that speeds up his development. I think Melvin will help us this season in some way. I think he can play at this level."

    Phillips has worked out with English almost every day this offseason, and he expects English to have a breakout season.

    Phillips exercised caution in giving an early grade to this group, before seeing them practice during next week's organized team activities and the team's minicamp in late June.

    "I hate judging players for what they do in shorts," he said. "I like the work ethic, and I'm excited about the potential these guys will show when the pads come on."
  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    TOG indeed.

    Burn it down.

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