Chargers 3 Defensive Levels
10/14/13 – by James Fedewa
Every Charger game, I find myself sitting on my couch, relaxing and watching the Chargers offense. I feel fairly confident in the San Diego offense with Rivers at the helm, tossing the ball to Gates and the new wide receivers, with Whisenhunt calling the plays and McCoy running the team. These guys get it and they are fun to watch. Plus, I have a comfortable couch that lets me unwind and enjoy some Chargers football score some points while drinking local ale. But on defense, I’m standing on the coffee table screaming at the TV with rising blood pressure and grinding teeth. The Chargers defense has me angered, impatient and fierce…
Sure, if it’s 3rd or 4th and goal (on the 1) and Danny Woodhead is in the backfield; that makes me a little sour. Or if the only hand offs I witness are shotgun draw plays (and I wonder how much “different” some of these lame offensive play calls are, mimicking last year). Or if another Chargers offensive linemen gets hurt again, I might second guess a third straight year of injury despair. But, the offense still feels better (than last season), so my worries are gentle and mild.
But this Chargers defense has a different feeling for me. It’s the evil twin of this team. The bad Gemini of this team has been very disappointing so far, when I expecting this young crew be a lot better than they are. San Diego needs some sort of defensive identity or a face. At one point, I thought backup Jarius Wynn was the best defensive linemen on the team, only to watch him get release last week. Luiget and Reyes are silent and Cam Thomas is virtually non-existent since after week one.
The Chargers linebackers have been playing below average, with no significant player. This is Donald Butlers “contract year” who has been under preforming and Manti Te’o is an intimidated ghost. Freeny: now GONE for the year with an injury. I’ve recognized Jarret Johnson’s play and he’s been doing well, but not pro-bowl worthy, when SD needs one MEAN guy.
San Diego’s secondary is has the talent, but I haven’t witnessed it on Sundays. Weddle has done well, but nothing noteworthy. Weddle does make plays though and is the only bright spot in the secondary, but this squad doesn’t have a single interception amongst them. What is missing, a TRUE strong safety and Brandon Taylor needs to play now. If Taylor can get healthy now, he might be that spark the defense needs. Gilchrest has had a few moments, but I rarely see him involved or have a nose for the ball. He’s a corner back, or a nickel.
What I’d like to see San Diego’s defense do next: One person, one player from each level to step up. One Defensive lineman, one linebacker and one man from the secondary to step up, all at the same time for the balance of the season: a Pass Rusher, a Run Stuffer, a Coverage Guy
Who I’m looking for the rest of the season? Three Pro Bowlers at three defensive levels.
- Corey Luiget to turn into JJ Watt (or Richard Seymour)
- Donald Butler to turn into NaVorro Bowman
- Derek Cox to turn into Antonio Cromartie
Who I’m looking for to improve:
- Kendall Reyes as an inside pass rusher
- Larry English as an outside pass rusher
- Brandon Taylor to be an big-hitting strong safety
- Manti Te’o as the ball-hawk
These 7 guys noted, can do it, have the tools to do it, and need to pull it together to get it done, now…