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Vaughn Martin Defensive end learns lessons

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Canadian says he is eager to meet Chargers’ expectations

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 8:20 p.m.

    See the ball, get the ball.

    It’s not simplifying it too terribly much to say those directions were the extent of the coaching Vaughn Martin received when he led the University of Western Ontario to the Canadian national championship football game. (No offense to the coaches of that Canadian college dynasty.)

    Really, that Martin even survived last year in the NFL and is more excited than ever about football are among the biggest signs that the Chargers did not waste a 2009 fourth-round pick on the raw talent of a Jamaican-Canadian defensive end.

    After a season in which he both played sooner than anticipated in a position he was not expected to play and was also inactive for a large chunk, Martin is expecting to play a major and effective role in the line’s rotation.

    He practically scoffs when the subject of the Chargers perhaps still being willing to have patience with him as he learns is raised.

    “There is no reason for me not to be able to contribute this year,” he said. He added, “I think the key to my success is going to be my expectations matching theirs. Because they have pretty high expectations of me, and I’m flattered by it, and I’m eager to achieve it.

    “That’s pretty much my only focus. This world is kind of full of people who haven’t reached their potential. There are a lot of people walking down the street with potential. So to go out there and try to actualize it and make it real, that’s what you’re supposed to do.”

    Most every rookie makes a monumental jump in understanding, strength, technique and nutrition during their first 12 months in the NFL. Then there is Martin, who left his Canadian college a year early and came to a country that was more different than he expected and found out he was only slightly familiar with the game he was now being paid to play.

    It wasn’t until he got to the NFL that Martin realized how easy it had been for him in college, where he relied on his size and strength to get 17½ tackles for loss his final season.

    “Just lining up on the ball and going and getting the ball,” Martin said. “That’s what it was.”

    Highly intelligent, Martin was nonetheless lost in the NFL. Not only did he figure out right away that pretty much everyone was as big and fast as he was — in fact, they were bigger and faster — but they knew a lot more than he did.

    Defensive line coach Don Johnson could tell most of the time by Martin’s expression when the player had no clue what was being taught.

    From “get the ball” in college to trying to understand different target points based on the scheme and call was a big jump.

    “When you (were) talking to him you (could) get a good indication of when something was way over his head,” Johnson said. “That’s something I mentioned to all the coaches — when you’re talking to Vaughn you’ve got to be absolute with him and you’ve got to talk to him like you’re talking to somebody at the high school level.… You couldn’t take anything for granted when you were explaining things to him.”

    Offseason ankle surgery relegated Martin to a stationary bike through April and limited him to pool work and jogging into May. He participated in only the final four offseason coaching sessions. But he was in on meetings, and a film cutup of every snap he played in 2009 allowed him to critique himself and also see his improvement over the course of the season.

    “I’m ahead of where I was last year,” he said with a laugh that punctuated the absurd obviousness of the statement. “Definitely.”

    Now at 324 pounds, up more than 10 pounds from last year, Martin is leaner than ever. Coupled with the natural strength and agility that caused the Chargers to take a flyer on him, Martin is positioned to become a staple in a line that has of late been infused with youth and athleticism.

    “I look at a guy like Cam Thomas, I look at a guy like Vaughn Martin, Ogemdi Nwagbuo, and the athleticism — the pure, raw, talent, the strength, the ability to go out there and move their bodies in a way that can lead them to have success in this league, is something you can’t teach,” said veteran end Luis Castillo. “So for us, it’s a matter of making sure they’re confident, making sure they know what they’re supposed to do, and making sure they go out there and approach the work part of it, the fact that it is our job to come in here and work as hard as we can every day, and if we can help them do that, they’re athletically gifted enough to make an impact.”

    Due to a rash of injuries on the line, Martin played more snaps the first four games of his rookie season than anyone wanted or was (at the time) really good for him.

    And he played more than anything at nose tackle, even after losing about 15 pounds before training camp at the Chargers’ request. He was overmatched, and the Chargers gave him a six-week respite after the Steelers game, essentially to be able to just practice and learn. He was primarily an end and a more effective player when he returned to action at the end of November.

    “I thought I finished off well last year,” Martin said. “You know, last year was kind of maybe three seasons for me — learning, sitting down, then getting back in and playing again and learning and progressing near the end of the year, so I’m really excited to keep going and build a steady crescendo to try and reach that potential.

    “I’ve definitely learned a lot. I respect a lot. I always knew I loved football. I realize how much more I love it now. It’s so much harder on this level. You have to work so much harder to succeed on this level.”

    Nuts ’n’ Bolts

    •Each ticket for a Chargers home game has a picture of a player, one for each game. Conspicuously absent from any of the 10 tickets is a picture of Marcus McNeill or Vincent Jackson. However, Shawne Merriman is featured on the ticket for the preseason opener against the Chicago Bears . Also featured this season are Kris Dielman, Darren Sproles, Luis Castillo, Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Quentin Jammer , Malcom Floyd , Nick Hardwick and Stephen Cooper.

    •Safety Darrell Stuckey “playing fast” in the first two practices is a sign to head coach Norv Turner that the fourth-round draft pick got in the playbook during the month the Chargers were off. Said Turner: “He’s put some time in since he’s been gone.”

    •Turner missed Merriman’s appearance Sunday on the HBO show “Entourage.” Said Turner: “I heard it was on at 10 o’clock. I don’t stay up that late.”

    •Wednesday is the final day of practice and meetings for the rookies and select veterans. They will be off Thursday in advance of the first full-squad practices at 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Friday.

    Video - http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/jul/27/defensive-end-learns-lessons/
  2. in_a_days

    in_a_days dgaf

    Sep 8, 2006
  3. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

    Aug 3, 2006
    Martin and Thomas are going to make an intimidating pair once they get their feet under them on the D Line. The can both move and they both have a lot of raw strength.
  4. cranberry

    cranberry BoltTalker

    Oct 3, 2006
    I wish the best for Vaughn this new season.
    Hope I get a throwback jersey photo from him to be
    his supporter this year.

    How well is Scott Mruczkowski again ?
    Hope he makes the 53 roster easily!

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