Former first-rounder English likes fresh start with Bucs
TAMPA -- Larry English is glad to have a fresh perspective on the NFL.
The former first-round draft pick, released by the Chargers after five seasons, was signed last week by the Bucs, where he has a chance to make the team as a backup defensive end.
"It is a little bit different, but my approach is still the same," said English, who was the 16th overall pick in the 2009 draft out of Northern Illinois, one spot ahead of the Bucs taking quarterback Josh Freeman. "I'm still coming in working hard with the ambition to get better every day."
Bucs coach Lovie Smith gave English a quick look in last weekend's preseason game against Miami -- 15 snaps on defense, four on special teams -- and said he'll get more of a test Saturday at Buffalo.
"We're always looking for outside pass-rushers and we brought Larry in hoping that he could give us some of that," he said. "In practice, from the first day he was OK, the next day he was better, so we're anxious to let him play. You might see him early in this game. We want to see him against good competition to see exactly what he can do."
English is back in a 4-3 defense for the first time since college -- he finished his career at NIU with 31.5 career sacks and 63 tackles for loss, then played as a 3-4 outside linebacker with the Chargers. He struggled to live up to expectations in San Diego, totaling 11 sacks in five seasons, but sees a better fit for himself in Tampa.
"I like the scheme -- I think it's a great defensive scheme with a lot of great defensive personnel," said English, who was a teammate of Bucs receiver Vincent Jackson while in San Diego. "It's a talented group and a good group of coaches, a place I felt I would fit in well, could work to show what I can do to help this organization."
English, 28, has to work quickly to impress coaches before next week's cuts from 90 players to 75 and then to 53, competing against another former high pick in Da'Quan Bowers, as well as less heralded players like former Titans end Scott Solomon.
"It's definitely exciting -- it's a good feeling walking around the building," the 6-foot-2, 255-pound end said. "I like the energy here, I like the coaches here and the group of guys in this locker room. I'm excited to be a part of it."