“To be honest with you, Larry has been unblockable for the last 10 days of camp,” Take Spikes said following Friday night’s win at Minnesota. ‘We all know he can play, so if he continues to stay healthy, this is his year. 2012 is his year. It gives us that much more depth.”
English certainly backed up those words with an outstanding performance against the Vikings. The fourth-year linebacker and former first round pick had two sacks along with four tackles, two for a loss, and two additional QB pressures. It was just a glimpse of what he is capable of doing now that he is healthy after missing 19 games the last two seasons with a myriad of injuries.
“It feels great to be completely healthy, especially coming down a long road to be here at this point right now,” he said. “I’m just really grateful and focused on the future. I feel fortunate and I’m just excited to go play how I’m capable of this year.”
Head coach Norv Turner feels equally fortunate to have a healthy English back and ready to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
“Larry is building and getting momentum,” he said as he addressed the media after the team’s 12-10 win. “He practiced that way Monday and Tuesday against the Cowboys, and he is really rolling in terms of his speed, his technique and he’s worked hard and improved his pass rush skills. And he’s healthy. And I think when you’re healthy you keep building and create momentum for yourself, and that’s what he’s doing.”
Still, despite his glowing performance, English was quick to deflect the praise off of him individually and instead complimented the team as a whole and defensive coordinator John Pagano’s schemes and game plan .
“As a defensive line and outside linebackers, we just did a great job of pressuring the quarterbacks today,” he said. “We got after it at times. We knew they were going to scramble going into the game, so we had the mindset of keeping them contained but at the same time not slowing down our rush at all. So I think we just did a good job of accomplishing that goal….Coach Pagano is really big on pressuring the quarterback and creating turnovers, because as a defense, if you can do that, you can win football games, and that’s what we did tonight.”
Still, there is no denying the direct impact English had on coming out of Minnesota victorious, and the 26-year old seems capable of having a breakout season in 2012 now that he is completely healthy. General Manger A.J. Smith certainly feels that way, as he addressed English’s tremendous talents earlier in the week.
“Larry English is a guy who I have said from day one is extremely talented,” he stated. “I think all of us within the organization have known that. He has unfortunately had some setbacks, most notably multiple operations on his foot, but he’s maintained and moved forward. Right now, knock on wood, for this season he’s been relatively healthy. He’s a man on a mission and has absolutely been fantastic in our training camp. We see him as a pass rusher – we always have – and he has particularly in the last week or so been incredibly explosive off the edge. His attitude is still right there, which is hard for a guy to do when you’ve been knocked down so much and disappointed so much. As far as his development, all he needs to be is healthy. If he can remain healthy, the rest will take care of itself.”