Bolts rookies, vets working hard to get it right
THE SPORTS XCHANGE  |
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 3:22pm
True, to a degree, as the Chargers' rookies have absorbed a tsunami of new information, play-calls, terminology and a little bit of seemingly everything else as they make the transition into the NFL.
"There's a lot to do, even beyond learning this system," said first-round pick Melvin Ingram, an outside linebacker who has shown well in his brief appearance. "I'm ready to get going and thrilled to be a part of this franchise, but I don't expect everything to be easy."
The Chargers are counting on many of their freshest faces to have an immediate impact as they try to reach the playoffs for the first time in three years. But to be keen in the fall and winter, the rookies need to get it right in the spring and summer. And that process is in full bore.
"This time is invaluable," said center David Molk, the first of the Chargers' two seventh-round picks. "There's a lot to take in, but we've all played football before, and eventually instincts take over. I don't think I'll be perfect during these early stages, but the key is to learn and fix the mistakes you make. Play by play, practice by practice, the goal is to keep getting better."
The Chargers are anticipating Ingram seeing the field quickly, especially on passing downs. And strong safety Brandon Taylor, a third-round selection, will be allowed to push Atari Bigby, another new Charger (but a veteran) for a starting spot.
Other veterans asked to learn a new system include wide receivers Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal and fullback Le'Ron McClain; outside linebacker Jarret Johnson is getting his cleats wet for the first time with the Chargers.
In recent times, the Chargers have also been slammed by injuries, which places an emphasis on their depth being up to speed, just in case. That is another reason the offseason is such a key to a team that finished 8-8 last year.
"Over the past few years, we've used a tremendous volume of players during the course of the season," coach Norv Turner said. "We know we're going to need reserves and we're going to need young players to play.
"Right now we're learning about these players and what they can do and how they can help contribute. We're looking for players to play to their strengths right away and eventually develop into complete football players."
It's San Diego, so it's no surprise to see people swimming. But on the Chargers Park practice field?