Page finds solace in focus

As the draft was winding down, things were picking up for Chase Page. The 6-foot-5, 285 lb. defensive lineman from North Carolina had known the Chargers were interested in him ever since his pre-draft visit, but had no idea when or if they would draft him.

"They told me they were going to try and take me somewhere in the last two rounds, otherwise they were going to try and sign me as an undrafted free agent," Page said. "When they called and said they were going to take me I was really excited. I felt comfortable with the coaches there, and thought it was a good situation for me."

Although Page is confident he can succeed in San Diego, he is well aware of the challenges inherent in coming to team running a 3-4 defense. The Chargers plan to keep only six defensive lineman.

"I think that's a good thing," said Page of the Chargers' preference to keep so few lineman. "That way there's no waiting around for a year before you get to play. This way if you make the team, you're going to be out there playing."

Before he gets out there and starts playing, Page knows he must continue to refine his game. That includes bettering both his physical and mental condition, something that has taken flight with off-season team activities and the recently completed minicamp.

"I need to adapt to the speed of the game," Page said. "Things are going really fast right now, and they'll be even faster when we put pads on. Also, I need to learn the playbook inside and out so I can react without thinking."

Fortunately for Page, he has some excellent players in front of him from whom he can learn. Page noted that Jacques Cesaire has been most helpful in helping him transition to the pro game, and said that starting ends Luis Castillo and Igor Olshansky have both been helpful as well.

Page, however, believes he could have no better teacher than head coach Marty Schottenheimer.

"I don't want to say he's legendary, but what he's been able to do is pretty amazing," Page said. "He's so well respected. When he talks, people listen, which is really cool, because that's not always the case."

Even though Page has only been around Schottenheimer for a short time, he has already seen the effects of his one-play-at-a-time mantra.

"Everybody is focused on the here and now," said Page of his new teammates. "We're just focusing on our day-to-day business, and that's so refreshing, because it wasn't always like that in college."

Chase Page finds challenges exciting, sees hard work as refreshing, and buys into Schottenheimer's rhetoric already. It appears that when A.J. Smith started his search for Chargers-type players, Page was exactly the kind of man he was seeking.


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