By Dave Thomas
Takeo Spikes, ILB, #51
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 242 lbs
Hometown: Sandersville, GA
There is not too much linebacker Takeo Spikes has not seen over some 15 years in the NFL.
Given his experience, Spikes seems to be a perfect fit on a Chargers’ club that is looking to bring some of its younger defensive talent along, especially fellow linebackers Larry English and Melvin Ingram
So, what better presence on the field and in the locker room to learn from than one Takeo Spikes?
Through six games this season, the Auburn product has 30 tackles (26 solo) for the Bolts. A season ago, his first in San Diego, Spikes finished the campaign with 106 tackles and an interception in 16 games.
Prior to landing in San Diego a season ago, Spikes had a solid three years in the Bay Area with San Francisco, being in on 280 tackles with the 49ers. Spikes has also seen time over his career with Philadelphia, Buffalo and Cincinnati, the city where he began his career in 1998 with the Bengals.
While the age of 35 may have slowed Spikes down a step or two, he is still an effective force in the second wave of defense for the Chargers. Whether it is trying to tackle running backs, slow down receivers or get pressure on the opposing quarterback, Spikes can still bring it with others his age or close to it.
For his long career in the NFL, Spikes has been in on more than 1,300 tackles, yet still is looking for the opportunity to be on a franchise that stands a good chance of winning the Vince Lombardi trophy when all is said and done.
Before he came to San Diego, the two-time Pro Bowl choice may have been inclined to stay with a 49ers squad that was building for the near future. Still, Spikes brought his talents south to San Diego, something that most Chargers fans are probably not too upset about.
Spikes Leads By Example
Yes, Spikes may not rack up the biggest defensive statistics when this season comes to an end, be it in late December or later if the Bolts make the playoffs, but he is no doubt a calming influence on the defensive side of the ball.
While Ingram (12 tackles in six games) definitely could be in the Chargers’ linebacking plans for years to come, the jury is still out on English, who has been in on a mere three tackles in six games. Given the continued experience growth needed for both players, having a guy like Spikes on the team certainly does not hurt.
With Spikes being in his mid-30s, it will be interesting to see in the remaining 10 games how the Chargers use him, whether he can stay injury free, and if he continues to lead by example or sees diminished playing time if others step up their games.
No matter what happens, having Takeo Spikes on one’s team is something most defensive coaches would welcome with open arms.
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Dave Thomas is a freelance writer covering all things Chargers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.