Gilchrist ahead of the curve at corner
"Marcus is one individual that really takes the profession seriously, physically and mentally, and he prepares for the game. That is why he is so far ahead of the other guys in knowing exactly what he is supposed to do.''
It's clear, even in practice, that the Chargers believe they've drafted someone special, someone who can contribute immediately. While it's unrealistic to all but a few rookies to start from Week 1 after they missed offseason activities due to the NFL lockout, a solid preseason could make Gilchrist the first corner off the bench and the team's primary return man.
Gilchrist is ahead of the curve, and coaches want to continue his accelerated progress. Assistant secondary coach Chris Dishman is in Gilchrist's ear several times per practice, offering advice to his young protege.
"It's positive reinforcement and a bit of constructive criticism," Gilchrist said of those talks. "He's always letting me know what I've done well and what I can do better. He tells me that after certain reps, which allows me to make adjustments during a practice session."
That's a small part of Gilchrist's crash course in the Chargers' scheme. He's never without a playbook. He spends time watching film from last season to see how starters Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason execute their assignments.
"This stuff is complicated, and I wouldn't dream of sitting here and saying that everything's come easy," Gilchrist said. "It takes time and a real commitment to preparation to understand a system. You can never stop learning, especially this early in the process. I feel like I know what I have to do, but I want to get a better understanding of everyone else's responsibilities. I don't want to know my role. I want to master this defense. When you do that, then you can truly maximize your potential. "
Gilchrist knows that because he has done it before. He went through a similar routine at Clemson, where he eventually learned the entire defense.
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