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"Explosive" Rookie Linebacker Drue Tranquill Making a Name for Himself

Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s face lit up Thursday when discussing a player whose hard work is translating into on-field success: linebacker Drue Tranquill.

According to Bradley, Tranquill has been putting in the hard yards in practice and as a result, has shown some serious growth throughout the linebacker’s first few months in the league.

Bradley also remarked on how “you can feel his explosiveness and his speed on the field,” and as a result, the defensive coordinator will try to get him “more and more involved” over the next few games.

“He’s a guy you want to play for,” Tranquill said of Bradley. “When a coach is positive and encouraging to you throughout the week, it makes you want to go out there on Sunday and play for them.”

Tranquill, who has ten combined tackles in limited defensive snaps over the past two games, is consistently giving Bradley reasons to transition him from special teams to a primary defensive role. While the rookie has shown bright spots so far this season, he attests that he still has room to improve.

“I think I’ve done well at points but also done poorly at points too and missed a couple of tackles here and there, but you obviously want to be the best that you can be and be the best at your position,” Tranquill said. “So there’s still a lot of learning I have to do, and thankfully we have some guys in our room that have done it for a long time who I can continue to learn from and a great coaching staff to help me.”

Specifically, Tranquill highlighted veteran linebackers Denzel Perryman and Thomas Davis as two players he’s leaned on for advice.

“Denzel just brings a plethora of experience in this specific defense being his third year in it, and TD has just played forever in terms of (his) linebacking experience, what to look for, and what teams are trying to do in the league,” Tranquill said. “I’m just trying to be a sponge around those guys and learn as much as I can.”

The Chargers defense will be traveling to Nashville Sunday to square off against the Tennessee Titans and newly minted starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, a test for which Tranquill says his defense is prepared.

“Tannehill is mobile, (and) I’m really impressed with his accuracy more than anything,” Tranquill said. “You saw his team when he came in. They were fired up, and his receivers went and made some pretty contested catches. I expect to have a wide receiving corps that’s going out to make plays, and he seems like a confident guy that’s going to try and put the ball in their hands.”

Kickoff will be Sunday at 1:05 p.m. PT on CBS.

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