Something big brewing


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Jan 22, 2006
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Something big brewing
Source: SD Bolt Report

Youngster Marcus McNeill was wearing a smile after the team’s recent minicamp. Maybe ignorance is bliss for the rookie left tackle.

“It has really started to slow down,” McNeill said about his transition from Auburn to the NFL. I’m feeling a lot better about it.”

Coach Marty Schottenheimer isn’t as easily convinced when asked of McNeill’s play.

“Kind of like you would expect a youngster to do,” Schottenheimer said. “He shows the athletic skills that are necessary to play there. But things are moving awfully fast for him, certainly.”

What isn’t certain is rather McNeill, Leander Jordan or veteran starter Roman Oben will man the left tackle spot come Sept. 11, when the season opens in Oakland.

Oben, by far, is the team’s top choice. But he is rebounding from two foot surgeries and hasn’t been able to work this offseason.

Jordan was Oben’s backup last year, but his play down the stretch has the Chargers concerned. So much so that they drafted McNeill in the second round.

But asking a rookie to protect a first-year starting quarterback’s blind side is a tall task, something McNeill can’t argue.

“That’s something big right there,” said McNeill, who went 43 straight games at Auburn without allowing a sack. “It’s not how they draw it up.”

But it could be the way this spot eventually pencils out. Although the team — and McNeill — hopes otherwise.

“Everybody is expecting Roman to be back and I plan on learning from Roman and being an apprentice to him,” the 6-7, 338-pound McNeill said. “He’s a wonderful professional and a great guy and I just try to stay up under his wing. If I follow him, I’ll have a long prosperous career.”

The Chargers would prefer that career is one McNeill can ease into.
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