Source: <a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/7214666?CMP=OTC-K9B140813162&ATT=5" target="_blank">Fox Sports</a>
By Alex Marvez
<img src="http://msn.foxsports.com/id/7213868_36_2.jpg" title="Rookie safety Eric Weddle helped the Chargers shut down Chicago's offense. (Jack Smith / Associated Press)" alt="Rookie safety Eric Weddle helped the Chargers shut down Chicago's offense. (Jack Smith / Associated Press)" align="left" height="156" width="218" />SAN DIEGO - As if their defense wasn't already formidable enough, the Chargers have a new weapon New England must account for in Sunday night's game at Gillette Stadium.
Rookie safety Eric Weddle made an immediate impact in his NFL debut during last Sunday's 14-3 home victory over Chicago. Playing in San Diego's dime packages, Weddle had either a tackle, pressure or sack on third down during four first-half series. Those plays helped prevent Chicago from taking more than a 3-0 lead as San Diego's offense struggled to get on track.
Weddle finished with three tackles, including a fourth-quarter stop of running back Adrian Peterson on a third-down carry that forced another Bears punt. In retrospect, maybe Chicago shouldn't have accepted the sizeable compensation Chargers general manager A.J. Smith provided to swap second-round picks and move up 25 spots in the second round of April's draft to land Weddle.
"I'm told he would have been there at the bottom of the second and we gave up too much to go get him," said Smith, who surrendered 2007 third- and fifth-round selections and a third-rounder in 2008. "My point is, â€˜Well if I knew (that he would be there), I wouldn't do it.'
"We thought he was a first-rounder. That tells you something right away."
A jack-of-all-trades at the University of Utah, Weddle ultimately settled into a cornerback role but is working as San Diego's backup strong safety behind Clinton Hart. Weddle had a team-high three interceptions and 15 tackles during the preseason yet intentionally wasn't showcased as a pass-rusher until San Diego's season opener.
"It was tough, but that's part of the preseason - to be vanilla," Weddle told FOXSports.com after the game. "That's what we were. When the real games started, we could bring out our whole package."
Now that the element of surprise is gone, Weddle's next challenge is proving he isn't a flash-in-the-pan like some other ballyhooed rookies who faded after fast starts. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady - who didn't get sacked or throw an interception in a three-touchdown performance during last Sunday's 38-14 rout of the New York Jets - will provide a much sterner test than the erratic Grossman.