Schottenheimer adapts to new NFL

The head coach, the general, breaking down a bit? When talking about some of the cuts this weekend, Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer had a touch of Dick Vermeil in him. A look at the coach over the last year begs the question, who is this guy?

As he has grown with these players through camp, San Diego Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer has evolved into the man he is today.

Every year he admits that being the Turk is a tough job and one that he does not envy. What differs is his sense of camaraderie when he looks into his own locker room – one that he has become a part of.

In the past, the image of Schottenheimer patrolling the sidelines with a Police baton in his hand was the image that wasn't unfathomable to conjure.

But, as the game has evolved, so has the coach. He has become a "player's coach".

While he keeps the integrity that has earmarked his career, seen by the picture he painted to each of the 21 players over a two and a half hour walk through the cuts on Saturday morning, Schottenheimer has changed with the times.

The other option is going extinct. And Schottenheimer says that will be up to him.

"Every year the adrenaline and emotion remains the same," said the coach. "If I reach a point where I don't get goose bumps at the start of the first game then I know it is time to go do something else."

Donnie Edwards, who has been with Marty through the Kansas City days, believes Schottenheimer has stayed the same through the years in terms of his expectations.

"The intensity was good," Edwards said of camp. "I have been with Marty a long time and he is one of the reasons I came to San Diego. He is still the same coach he was back then. He got us to focus on the right direction."

One thing is certain. The coach has taken it easier on his veterans in camp.

"Some of the teams that consistently go to the playoffs and the Super Bowl, the veterans don't really do too much of anything except walkthroughs and then the rookies and new guys are the guys they really work," veteran tackle Roman Oben said.

And that is a trait that is appreciated by the players as they prepare for the long season.

Oben went on to say that NFL players are never truly healthy once the season begins, which is why it is so important to limit some of the work they do in training camp and preseason.

But don't tell him he doesn't have a hint of old-school in him.

"The reference to me being old-school, I take that as a positive," said Schottenheimer. "There is nothing wrong with some values of people that have a plan, work hard and go about their business with certain basic fundamentals in mind and deal with people on a daily basis in an honorable way. Showing respect. . .that to me is what old school is.

"At the same time, you can't be so dogmatic about your attitude that you are unwilling to change and I think that is where I have improved as a coach in today's environment."

He still holds to some of the same ideals. Don't turn the ball over. Keep penalties down. Know your assignments. Execute.

And the respect from the players has gone up along the way. Schottenheimer has adapted to the new NFL and may be a player's coach more than ever.


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