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Big D in the Big Easy?

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    By Kevin Acee , UNION-TRIBUNE
    Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 5:06 p.m.

    Early in Saturday’s preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys , Chargers cornerback Antoine Cason hit Miles Austin after the Pro Bowl receiver had taken a step into his route, knocking Austin off stride. Seconds later, a pass from Tony Romo landed in the grass nowhere near where Austin stood.
    The same thing happened two plays later.
    “At the cornerback position we are playing a lot different than we have played since I’ve been here,” said corner Quentin Jammer, the Chargers’ first-round draft pick in 2002.
    While it may be simplifying things too much and not giving credence to the fact defensive coordinator Ron Rivera needed time to evaluate and install, it seems a little bit like the Chargers woke up Jan. 18 and decided they wanted to be the New York Jets . Or the New Orleans Saints, who hit quarterbacks and made interceptions all the way to a Super Bowl title last season.
    The Chargers defenders decided, at the very least, they needed to find out who they were and stick with it.
    “For the last couple years, I don’t think we had one identity,” Jammer said. “We were kind of schizophrenic; we just had multi-personalities. One week we’d be one thing, the next week we’d be something else. I think it caught up with us.
    “I think it was the opponent that kind of dictated. We just need to get one identity and stick with it … Kind of impose your will on teams. Think about the Saints last year. They had a great offense, but I think the defense won them the Super Bowl, because they imposed their will.
    “You saw when they were knocking the hell out of Brett Favre. They were knocking the hell out of Kurt Warner. They got to the Super Bowl, and they were knocking the hell out of Peyton Manning. There you go. That is what we want to do.”
    It’s preseason, and the Chicago Bears and Cowboys might not have been ready for Rivera’s machinations. But it’s clear the Chargers are intent on disrupting routes, getting more push up the middle and attacking the quarterback from every direction.
    They are allowing 51 rushing yards a game through two exhibitions, best in the NFL. They rank fourth against the pass. (One reason that is hardly worth mentioning is that they led the NFL in rushing defense last preseason and then went out and allowed a league-high 141 yards a game through the season’s first five games before finally finishing ranked 16th at 117.8 yards a game.)
    Still, their blitzes ran Jay Cutler from the exhibition opener after one series, and their aggressiveness clearly affected a Dallas offense that gained just 49 yards while the starters were in.
    This is just another theory about the team that can’t finish, but if Gang Blue & Gold can keep it up, maybe the Chargers won’t self-destruct in January again. Fact is, no matter that everyone on the outside frets over the two missing Pro Bowlers on offense, those in the organization believe their defense holds the key to the Chargers’ success this season.
    “I think we can help ourselves over the next four months by establishing an identity,” Jammer said.
    It starts Friday night against the Saints, wherein the Chargers will get a legitimate test against the offense that last year led the NFL in scrimmage yards and points.
    Chief among those providing the gauge will be Drew Brees, considered among the headiest quarterbacks in the NFL, capable of deep completions and also burning a blitz.
    “Getting an opportunity to play that kind of offense is going to be a good test for us,” linebacker Stephen Cooper said. “It is going to show if we can stop the run or not and get after a quarterback like Drew because he is so smart. He knows how to audible out of stuff and get the offense into good schemes and put us in bad schemes. As long as we can go out there and make plays and get into his face, we will show what kind of defense we really are.”
    The Chargers have blitzed on 12 of the 19 passes their first-team defense has been on the field this preseason. Those 12 blitzes have produced two sacks and two knockdowns, including one that rushed a Romo interception.
    That’s who the Chargers plan to be.
    “One thing (playing the Saints) will show us (is) exactly how aggressive we can be,” Rivera said. “If you’re too aggressive and you’re not having success, it will show. We have to find out how far we can push the envelope.”
    As everyone on the defense, Norv Turner and Rivera speaks of being this hit-‘em-in-the-mouth, downhill defense, and the product through two exhibitions seems to back up the talk, a question arises.
    Where has this been?
    The short story, according to Rivera and players, is that the Chargers have emerged from survival mode, having pared down and slowly added things back to the defense, got through some major injuries, identified which players can do what and decided they can be this team.
    “We’ve been going through an adaptation period,” said Rivera, who took over midway through the 2008 season. “I’d like to believe we’ve reached a point now where the guys are comfortable with all the different things we’re trying to do. They understand the concepts, and they just play fast.”
    And that is the main difference, which also gets to the heart of the idea the Chargers have not been a physical team. Watching them win at Dallas or New York last season should have ended that argument. But the fact was they were tentative at times.
    “Now that were playing together, it makes everything look better,” linebacker Kevin Burnett said.
    “When guys are moving fast, it looks more physical,” Cooper said.
    As long as they keep it that way, the believe they’ll be better – no matter what an offense does.
    Said Cooper: “Defense dictates the pace of games.”
    Tonight, they’ll get a hint as to whether that’s the case.
  2. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

    Aug 15, 2006
    Tomorrow should be a nice test for our first string vs. Brees and the high powered Saints O.
  3. Dublin Bolt

    Dublin Bolt BoltTalker

    Aug 12, 2006
    I know I'm probably worrying unnecessarily but Jammer has not covered himself in glory the first 2 preseason games. It appeared to me he was getting picked on quite a bit and often not close enough to his man. On the other hand Cason seemed to see v little coming his way.

    Jammer has quietly been one of, if not the most consistent player on our D for the last few years. Here's hoping this continues and what I've seen so far is just pre-season aberration.
  4. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

    Aug 15, 2006
  5. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Official Hater

    Feb 14, 2007
    I bet you can not resist after tonights game. :lol:
  6. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2006
    Game 3 is always the game which most resembles a regular season game. Starters play for 2 if not 3 quarters and it is "on"

    This is my favorite pre-season game.

    If we can reek havoc and get to Brees with this patchwork D-Line - it could get interesting in the playoff run. I suspect the Saints will humble Bolt fans by exposing our deficient run defense and then the forum will implode....bodies everywhere. The horror.......and then.......

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