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College system, timing big for rookie WRs

Posted Jul 23, 2011

Rookie receivers face a stiff challenge if they want to contribute early in their careers, but the learning curve can be friendlier if they come from a similar college system and spend time working with the quarterback.

SAN DIEGO – Moving from the Aztecs’ locker room to the Chargers’ confines at Qualcomm Stadium isn’t the only short commute required of third-round pick Vincent Brown.

The former San Diego State receiver won’t have to bridge the Grand Canyon to transition to San Diego’s offense, a modern-day derivative of former Chargers and Aztecs coach Don Coryell’s system.

Brown’s route-running, refined for a college player, and solid hands were factors in the decision to draft him, but so was his college system. Scouts and coaches often gravitate toward prospects that run pro-style offensive or defensive systems because it’s easier to evaluate and project players performing tasks similar to what they’ll be doing in the NFL.

“Vincent plays a style that fits what we like to do offensively,” Head Coach Norv Turner said during the April draft.

Said receivers coach Charlie Joiner, who played for Coryell, on drafting a receiver from an offense similar to San Diego’s: “You find that if you pick somebody from a team like that, the person you pick has less of a learning curve than if you go completely away from a system that you run.”

Besides creating a more difficult projection, receivers that play in spread offenses or different systems in college must endure a steep learning curve in training camp and are less likely to contribute early in their careers.

Another crucial element in preparing a young receiver is developing a trust and familiarity with the quarterback.

“They have to be in meetings together. They’ve got to hear the same language, the same terminology, the same explanation of routes coming from the head person (Turner), and they’ve got to completely understand and be on the very same page,” Joiner said.

“The same thing that’s being taught to the quarterbacks should be taught to the entire perimeter group, because that is what (Turner) is looking for in a game when he calls a play. He just wants to make sure that everybody’s in the right spot at the right time. To do that, you’ve just got to be together, you’ve got to be together, you’ve got to be together.”

BOLT TO THE Q: The Chargers’ Kaiser Permanente Bolt to the Q will begin 7 a.m. Saturday at Chargers Park.

The 5K run/walk will finish on the field at Qualcomm Stadium and will benefit Mack’s Miracles, a nonprofit charity started by host Marcus McNeill.

Antonio Garay, Travis Johnson and Ogemdi Nwagbuo also are expected to be on hand along with 2,500 runners. The event is sold out.

RIVERS NO. 1: ESPN ranked Philip Rivers the No. 1 player in the AFC West, ahead of Oakland cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles.

“He is an elite player at the most important position on the field,” AFC West blogger Bill Williamson wrote.

Chargers tight end Antonio Gates ranked fourth on the list, which did not include rookies.

Also ranked were Vincent Jackson (No. 8), Nick Hardwick (No. 12), Quentin Jammer (No. 17), Kris Dielman (No. 18), Marcus McNeill (No. 20), Shaun Phillips (No. 21), Eric Weddle (No. 23), Malcom Floyd (No. 31), Antonio Garay (No. 37) and Ryan Mathews (No. 38).

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