San Diego Has A Lot of Questions On Defense
The San Diego Chargers are set to start the season on the road tonight against the Kansas City Chiefs. Philip Rivers will lead the Chargers’ high-powered offense and should ranked among the best in the league despite LaDainian Tomlinson no longer being a Charger, and losing Vincent Jackson for three games while he serves a suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. With an explosive offense and a so-so defense, the Chargers can only go as far as their defense will take them. Year one of Ron Rivera’s 3-4 scheme didn’t go as planned. They learned they needed cornerbacks that were willing to tackle otherwise there will be gaping holes on the outside of the defense for opposing running backs to run freely. So what did they do to address that? They traded away Antonio Cromartie in hopes of their ’08 first round pick, Antoine Cason, developing into the physical player he was in college at Arizona and he will be paired with veteran Quentin Jammer to solidify the cornerback position.
This season, the safeties and the nickel cornerback will blitz frequently and almost be aiming for the quarterbacks as much as the outside linebackers. The depth behind Jamal Williams in ‘09 was laughable but they seem better off now than they were last season heading into the first game. Antonio Garay, another injury-prone veteran, has won the starting job and looks like an absolute beast at the nose. If Ron Rivera can coach up this defense and somehow get them to play out of their minds, the Chargers could repeat as division champions but their window of opportunity is closing shut. Quentin Jammer joined XX Sports Radio in San Diego to talk about whether he thinks the defense is ready for the start of the season, how tough it was to figure out what Ron Rivera wanted him to do on the defensive side of the ball, and what it is like to go up against the Chargers’ offense and whether not having Vincent Jackson has been noticeable.
Whether he thinks the defense is ready for the start of the season:
“We absolutely have no choice now, huh, heading into the game Monday night. I think the defense is great with what are trying to do as a defense this year as far as putting pressure on the quarterback and attacking the football is going to be great for us this year.”
Whether he is OK with people questioning the defense heading into the season:
“It is good for other teams to wonder what we are going to do and how we are going to go about this season just because, especially in the first game, guys have no clue what you are going to do. They have an idea and the only they can go by is preseason, which is a very vanilla defense and what we did last year and I thought we were pretty good last year and I think with the addition of Donald Strickland, I think he is going to do a great job at the nickel spot. As far as putting the pressure on the quarterback we are bringing it from everywhere this year. We aren’t just counting on our linebackers and ends to get it done.”
How tough it was to figure out what Ron Rivera wanted him to do on the defensive side of the ball:
“It is our job to understand it but we grasped it well and Donald is a very, very smart guy. He got his degree in engineering and he came and picked it up well. Like I said, we get paid to know what is going on regardless of how much the defense changed. It hasn’t really changed that much but we are looking to be a little more aggressive.”
What it means to have trust on defense:
“For us it means being in position for your job and your job only not trying to do everybody else’s job because on the field we all have a job to do. All it takes is for one guy to try to do another guy’s job and it is a touchdown or it is a 50-yard gain so it is really about doing your job and trusting the other guy to do his.”
What it is like to go up against the Chargers’ offense and whether not having Vincent Jackson has been noticeable:
“It has been noticeable. Anytime you get a presence like Vincent Jackson out there it is going to be out there but at the same time we all saw what Malcolm did last year. Malcolm is a great wide receiver and he is only going to get better this year and Legedu is a great wide receiver and he is going to be a lot better than last year but I think the one guy that will surprise a lot of people this year, if we can just keep him on the field, I think it will be Buster Davis. I think he is definitely a great, great wide receiver. He has the potential to be an 1,100-yard receiver and that is saying a lot because we haven’t seen him consistently enough but after what I have seen being here for the past three years I definitely think if we can keep him on the field he could be one of those guys.”