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Takeo Spikes - The Difference Maker

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Blue Bolt, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Oct 28, 2009
    Chargers being molded by Spikes
    THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2011 AT 8:29 P.M.


    There is a cachet that comes with being Takeo Spikes.

    It’s been affixed to him for awhile. It certainly accompanied him to his first day of work as a Charger, and he carries it effortlessly into every interaction every day with every person.

    It was only enhanced by his Chargers debut on Sunday, in which he went sideline to sideline play after play, on the field for every defensive snap, making a game-high 11 tackles in his 184th NFL start.

    If the Chargers defense remains what it was in the opener, it will be in large part because of what Spikes has brought.

    It is an aura derived from physical prowess and sustained performance, and it is an eminence that was God-given.

    Rumor is that Spike’s neck is almost two feet around. It’s not so much a neck as a bridge between a back that could be put to sea and have planes landed on it and a close-shaved head that houses dark eyes that just might see inside people. It is likely that Spikes sleeps intensely.

    The man doesn’t so much walk a room as stalk it, doesn’t so much participate in a conversation as consume it, devouring more than listening and giving answers so thoughtful as to be profound.

    He measures his words and delivers them with purpose.

    Spikes learned from his former coach in Cincinnati, Dick LeBeau, the Hall of Fame defensive back who is the Pittsburgh Steelers’ revered defensive coordinator, that a leader of men must learn how to relate to all different types.

    “What it may take to motivate this guy, it may not take the same thing to motivate that guy,” Spikes said. “That’s when it becomes personal for me. I’ve got to find out what makes you tick. Whether it’s going out to eat, whether it’s sitting on the bus ride, whether it’s on the plane spending five minutes with ‘em, that stuff matters ... I just want a little conversation from ya, that’s all. To me, that means a lot, because then they know when you say something to ‘em (that) ‘I’m not attacking you.’ It’s constructive criticism. I want you to get better. You get better, I get better, we all get better.”

    The Chargers’ locker room has long been filled with veterans such as Quentin Jammer, who prefers to let his play do his talking. Spikes is more of a rarity than most realize. His walk is bolstered by his talk, and vice versa.

    Asked to explain why and how he is that type of leader, Spikes said, “I think it becomes part of your personality… I hate living by the word ‘if.’ If keeps you from getting a lot of stuff accomplished. I never want to look back and say ‘if.’

    Spikes has been in the NFL longer than all but 17 other men that are still playing, longer than all but five other linebackers currently in the game, longer than every one of his Chargers teammates and longer than eight of the team’s assistant coaches.

    The man (child) Spikes is playing next to at inside linebacker this season celebrated his 10th birthday the day before Spikes played his sixth NFL game.

    “Takeo Spikes, he’s known around the league,” said Donald Butler, now 22-years-old and soaking up everything he can from the guy he “grew up watching.”

    One doesn’t have to be barely legal to be in awe of Spikes.

    He has that effect, a presence that is overwhelming physically and emotionally.

    “He says it, you do it,” said safety Eric Weddle, one of two defensive captains.

    When Spikes was voted a captain by his teammates, it was the 11th time for the fourth different team. He achieved the honor after six weeks in San Diego.

    “I think that’s what was so impressive,” said quarterback Philip Rivers, the face and voice of the Chargers. “He was very careful. He was very respectful – ‘I know I haven’t been here (very long), but I do know how to play the position, how to lead, and I’m going to do it in a way that is very welcoming.’ It was like, ‘Okay, I see how things go here. I know how it’s been.’ And then he’s put his touch on it.”

    There are subtle changes in the Chargers’ collective demeanor that are not coincidence. It is a tight group made tighter. Details are not ignored. Words are carefully doled out, publicly and privately.

    There was concern as the preseason concluded that the Chargers defense, featuring six new starters, was having trouble jelling.

    How did the first-team defense go from averaging almost 6.8 yards a rush in the preseason to giving up an average of 4.3 yards per play (run and pass) in the season opener? It might have had something to do with extra time on the field and the extra meetings with safeties and linebackers arranged by the man teammates call TK.

    Half the players on the defensive two-deep have not yet participated in their 40th NFL game; nine haven’t played in their 30th game; and four made their NFL debut on defense this past Sunday.

    That’s a young outfit.

    Spikes, at 34, is not young. If he plays out the three-year contract he signed with the Chargers, he will have lasted 16 seasons. As of now, Ray Lewis (16 and counting) andJunior Seau (20) are the only linebackers to have played that long.

    “He don’t have an upside,” said nose tackle Antonio Garay. “He just is the upside.”
  2. Concudan

    Concudan Meh... Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 5, 2006
    Nice read! thanks for posting it Blew...
  3. Brundlefly

    Brundlefly Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2009

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