Where are they now?

Former Chargers OT Cory Lekkerkerker checks in with Amberly Richardson of SDBoltReport.com for an exclusive interview. In addition to updating his progress in Miami, Lekkerkerker explains why the Chargers' offense is struggling and contrasts the coaching styles of Norv Turner, Cam Cameron and Marty Schottenheimer.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For the Insider portion of this interview, click here.

Amberly Richardson: You grew up in California, played college ball at UC Davis and started your NFL career in San Diego. How different is it living in Miami?

Cory Lekkerkerker: It's different, but not as much as if I played in Green Bay or Minnesota. The weather is still similar and the attitude is comparable. Football wise, Cam Cameron was with me in San Diego, so I know his style of play. Basically, the transition is as smooth as it can be.

AR: There are six former Chargers on the Miami roster and you played with a couple of them (Derreck Robinson and Greg Camarillo) last year in San Diego. Is there an East Coast Chargers clique?

CL: It has definitely helped with the transition. We are all independent enough to do our own thing but it's nice to know someone. A lot of times we migrate to the guys we know. We B.S. once in awhile. It is just nice to know someone out here.

AR: Do you keep in touch with any Chargers who are not in Miami?

CL: I keep in contact with some of the friends I made out there. I know they are getting some losses out there.


OT Cory Lekkerkerker
Stephen Dunn/Getty

AR: Does that mean you are following the Chargers this season?

CL: I'm focusing on what I have to do out here, but I take a peak at the scoreboards. Because I still have friends out there, I want to see how they are doing.

AR: Does your experience playing under Cam Cameron help your transition to the Dolphins?

CL: I've always respected Cam; he basically gave me my shot in the NFL. I was a free agent and San Diego drafted a fifth-round tackle (Wesley Britt) and gave me a great opportunity to compete with him. They picked me, which is something a lot of teams wouldn't have done. I've always had a level of respect and appreciativeness toward Cam for that. I respect the way that he handled that situation. I've always respected the way he's handled himself as a coach and a person.

AR: Do you think the Cameron connection played a part in you being picked up by the Dolphins?

CL: Yes, I would think so. I haven't gotten a direct answer. Talking to him, he mentioned how he knew I was a hard worker and he knew he could trust me. It seems like that's important to him, being able to trust his players. Trust is important to everyone, but it is very important to him.

AR: What are the differences between Cam Cameron the offensive coordinator and Cam Cameron the head coach?

CL: He's the same guy. He doesn't try to do anything differently. Basically, instead of talking just to the offense, he applies the same messages to the whole team. As a head coach, he tries to lead more. Cam is a sort of father figure and has earned a lot respect. People believe in him.

Cory's brother, Brad Lekkerkerker, was on the Oakland Raiders practice squad between 2004-06. In '07, he was placed on the reserve/retired list and has since hung up his cleats.


OT Brad Lekkerkerker
Getty Images

AR: Does it help that your brother played in the league? Does he answer questions about the business side of the NFL?

CL: He helped me out a lot. Growing up, he was like a father figure to me. Our father passed away when we were young. We talk everyday for about a half an hour to an hour. He helped me with knowing what to expect, what to do and how to do it. We still talk football even if he's moved on to other things. Since he has played at this high of a level, he knows what I am going through.

AR: Last year you were with a 14-2 team. This season, the Dolphins are 0-10. What impact does that make in terms of team morale?

CL: It's hard, but I think everyone here in Miami is being professional about it and understands that not everything is under your control, you have to focus on individual performance and try to get better. Just because you were on a 14-2 team, you might be performing better, individually, on an 0-10 team. On the offensive line, we've tried to keep focused and keep working at improving as a line. Things are not as drastic as most people would imagine. You just keep working. You always have to focus on the next week.

AR: In 2005, Mike Moroski told us that you were a coach's dream because you loved to study the game. Does that statement hold true today?

CL: Of course I'm a coach's dream! Yes, I enjoy studying the game. If football is your job, then I think you have to take an intellectual approach to do everything you can to become a better player. I want that to be part of the package of the type of player that I am. I pride myself on that.

AR: You guys play the Patriots next month. Do you think the Dolphins can do what the rest of the league hasn't?

CL: Yes, I think that would be the biggest oxy-moron, the biggest surprise, that a team that a lot of people consider to be not so good could beat the Patriots. Any team can beat any team on any given Sunday. If we play our best game we can win any game. Everyone on the Dolphins takes that mentality.

INSIDER EXCLUSIVE

Click Here to read Part II, where Lekkerkerker talks about the Chargers' offensive struggles, Norv Turner's rocky start and the competition at tackle.


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