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Sun., Jul. 19, 2015 7:30 AM PDT
Green shows versatility
SAN DIEGO – Even the NFL Network might have to take a few laps around the league to collect a handful of players that have done what Chargers offensive lineman Tyronne Green has done this offseason.
Green, a second-year player out of Auburn, has practiced at guard, center and both tackle positions.
The 6-foot-2, 316-pound college guard never had played center until this spring. However, Head Coach Norv Turner called him a player to watch before training camp, excited about Green’s versatility.
Now Green has spent a few practices with the first offense at left tackle while Brandyn Dombrowski and Tra Thomas nurse injuries.
“At first, a little mindblowing, but as the days go on you try to keep progressing at each one,” Green said of his frequent relocation. “If it comes up in the season and you’re in a backup role, you never know where you’ll get thrown in. The more versatile you are, the more it helps you and it helps the team.
“Rome wasn’t built overnight, so they don’t expect it to be a finished product right away, but I think they see potential in what I can be.”
The fourth-round pick played in four games last year and spent most of that time on special teams. A converted defensive tackle out of high school, Green again felt unsure of his responsibilities during his first NFL season.
“Coming in as a rookie, you’re in the phase of not knowing what’s going on, whereas when you were in college, you were probably (the) man. You could dominate guys. (Now) the best guy you played against in college, they’re like that all the way across the board,” Green said.
“It’s helped me go out and compete instead of looking like a chicken with my head cut off, running around like, ‘Oh man, who do I have? What’s going on?’ Knowing what’s going on gives you an edge and lets you compete.”
Philip Rivers, who also has expressed confidence in Green, isn’t worried about injuries to Dombrowski, who worked at left tackle all summer, and Thomas, who has started 165 NFL games at the position.
“We’ve got some nagging injuries. Dombrowski has missed a couple days, but it’s funny how things like that happen and it ends up making you better,” Turner said. “Tyronne Green’s gone over there and it might be his most natural position. He is a very, very good pass protector. He’s got great feet. He’s got long arms.
“What you find out is, you’ve got guys throughout a given season who are going to be able to help you in other spots. If we were in a position like we were last year, he could go in and play right tackle, left tackle, left guard and center. Getting the exposure right now is pretty good for us to evaluate.”
Green strikes a balance between overwhelmed and cocky when talking about his ability to play guard, tackle and center in the NFL. He relies on overall athleticism and good footwork at every position.
“I’ve always played guard so it’s just second nature to me. They put me at center this spring and that was my first time playing it. I just got a little knack for it. Started finding the things that I could do well with it; the techniques that work for me.
“It’s kind of what I’m doing with tackle. Of course I’m not the prototypical tackle, especially left tackle, in the NFL, but I try to use what I’ve got to my advantage. I change direction and stay in front of guys, and my long arms. I’m short but I have long, tackle arms. It helps being able to sit and get a good punch on a guy and keep him separated from your body.”