Chargers camp: Foley plays for keeps

During the one-on-one pass rushing drills, it was evident that no one could block Chargers linebacker Steve Foley. His explosive first step put him on the offensive linemen before they could set their feet to pass block. That left the lineman off-balance and Foley in familiar territory – with a shot at the quarterback.

We had the chance to talk to Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden this week on a different matter before throwing in a Chargers question and he made a point of mentioning Foley and the impact he has had on the team.

"I think one of the great additions that they have made other than Wade Phillips was Steve Foley, the outside linebacker," said Gruden. "He's a powerful rusher. When you think of the 3-4, you think of Lawrence Taylor, you think of Carl Banks. You've got to have people who can not only rush but people who can beat backs, and beat them bad. And when they have to beat a tackle, they have to be able to beat them.

"Foley's a guy who may not have been a household name coming to San Diego, but he fits this 3-4 scheme. It's just like Wade Phillips did in Buffalo all those years, and in Denver. All of a sudden, here's Karl Mecklenburg, here's [Darryl] Talley. These guys, they really flourish in this game. Every year [in Pittsburgh] – [Jason] Gildon and [Joey] Porter and pretty soon Kevin Greene. You've got to have those kind of guys to play this defense, and they clearly have them."

It is his demeanor and approach to each snap that gets notices on the practice field. He takes each drill and prepares for it like his job hinges on the result.

Not only has Foley made a difference on the field, he is taking that fiery personality back to the huddle and into the locker rooms. He is not afraid to get in another players face and tell them the truth about their play.

"I have always been the type to lead by example," said Foley. "Sometimes you have to be vocal and we are all grown men out here. If you can't take a little constructive criticism then you are in the wrong business. We all have to tough skin and realize that if it is coming from a coach or a teammate it is for the betterment of the team."

It is that attitude that makes him the unquestioned leader of the defense. Donnie Edwards may be the front man and surely makes a ton of plays with heart and determination, but Foley is the vocal part to the two-headed equation.

Not ready to give up yet:

Jacques Cesaire was also very active on Sunday. His hard work and non-stop motor made it evident why he made the team as an undrafted free agent. And, he hasn't given up that attitude, especially with Luis Castillo on the roster and vying for his spot at left end.

Cesaire may not end up starting, but you can be sure he will be in the defensive line rotation.

"He had a couple of qualities that we thought were quite positive," said head coach Marty Schottenheimer. "He has incredible balance. He has good body strength and can stack up the line of scrimmage effectively. We are working him at both end and nose."

Most pundits believed Cesaire would end up playing on the interior of the line coming out of college and more than a few were surprised to see him at end.

Now, Cesaire has a chance to be the primary backup at end behind Castillo if he wins that competition and the primary backup at the nose. Given the Chargers line rotation and desire to keep each man on the line fresh, he could play a pivotal role.

"I had just recently heard that they had given him an opportunity to play inside so I think that would be a positive thing for him," former college coach Rich Cavanaugh said.


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