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Tight group embraces competition on Bolts D-line

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 8:31 p.m.

    By necessity, the Chargers played defensive line by committee last year. Given the number of injuries and major nicks the Chargers tackles and ends endured, they were regularly rotating a half-dozen players into the fray. In the process, they all got extremely tight as a unit.
    “This is the closest I’ve ever felt to a bunch of guys,” said veteran defensive end Luis Castillo. “You can even throw that back to when I was 11 years old.”
    The bond is obvious, on the field and off, but they all now find themselves in perhaps the most intense, wide-open run for jobs and playing time in all of Chargers training camp. Head coach Norv Turner, for one, would just as soon not have to send his defensive linemen through a turnstile again in 2010.
    “I like all the guys, but I’m looking for someone to step up,” said Turner. “I think they know I’m not looking to have six guys rotate all the time. I’m looking to have some guys step up and get a job where they’re the lead guy and the others are helping him.”
    Then again, if the rotation works as well as it did, why give a vast majority of defensive snaps to three or four of the six or seven who make the team?
    “It does work (the rotation),” said Turner. “If someone really jumps out, though, they can take more of a role. I don’t want a deal where they’re all just rolling in there. I want to have a guy who says, ‘Hey, I’m the guy who’s gonna go make a play.’ ”
    It is, after all, about competition. There are nine serious candidates vying for the available spots. Each of the nine already has gotten a number of snaps with the first-unit defense, and Saturday’s preseason opener will take the competition to a new level.
    “We have to make sure as we go through everyone gets the fair amount of reps, gets enough playing time,” said defensive coordinator Ron Rivera.
    Rivera said in all his years as a defensive coach he has not overseen a more competitive battle in one position group.
    Said Castillo: “I’ve never been around a defensive-line competition where you have this many guys who can step out on the field and make plays and be consistent.”
    A year ago, Ryon Bingham was deemed one of the more dependable players in the mix, experienced at every position in the line over his five years with the Chargers. He was lost for the entire season, however, with surgery on a torn biceps muscle he sustained in training camp.
    “With the competition the way it is, you definitely feel that urgency,” said Bingham. “If you want to be part of it, you better play well.”

    Lang learning

    Undrafted rookie Brandon Lang is trying to make the adjustment from college defensive end to outside linebacker in the Chargers’ 3-4 defense.
    It’s the same transition 2009 first-round pick Larry English had to make with one small difference.
    “It’s the exact same situation,” Lang said with a laugh, “except without being the 16th overall pick.”
    Lang, whose best bet is likely to make the practice squad, has seemed accelerated in his learning of late. Besides the alteration in stance, the biggest change he has to make is dropping in coverage more often and in more varied routes. He showed some skill there Thursday in covering Ryan Mathews on a sideline route.

    Nuts ’n’ Bolts

    • At this point, it would seem doubtful Darren Sproles will play Saturday. He left practice Wednesday afternoon with a shoulder injury Sproles described as “just a little something.” Sproles said he’d relish the work, especially returning kicks. But there are three exhibition games after Saturday, and Sproles fields about 5,000 kicks every offseason, so chances are he’ll be ready for the season.

    •Guard Kris Dielman (neck), receiver Malcom Floyd (calf) and tight end Randy McMichael (knee) returned to practice. English (foot) remains sidelined and will almost certainly miss Saturday’s game.
  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Pick it up, Luis. :yes:
  3. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Official Hater

    Feb 14, 2007
    Just like regular season! :lol: Keep that injury bug away! :headbang:

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