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Changes are coming, but responsibility rests with Chargers players

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    Ron Rivera stepped in front of his defense for the first time Wednesday, confident and forceful, and told the players what they already knew.

    It's on them.

    This is not Ted Cottrell versus Ron Rivera as much as it is Antonio Cromartie and Igor Olshansky and Clinton Hart and pretty much everybody else deciding they're going to play better.

    “We as players have to be accountable,” Hart said. “No matter who's our coordinator, we have to be accountable and we have to get better.”

    On the first day of Rivera's reign, the Chargers did not practice. With rest and recuperation being the primary goal for the bye week, they met, lifted weights and ran. Most players were gone from Chargers Park by noon.

    In the morning, the defense heard from its new coordinator.

    “He put guys on the spot, told us we need to be more accountable,” inside linebacker Stephen Cooper said. “Guys need to step up. They know who they are.”

    Of course, a spark is expected to be provided by Rivera, if only because change sometimes does that.

    “If it ain't broke, don't fix it,” outside linebacker Shaun Phillips said. “Obviously, it was broke ... I think it's going to be a good thing as far as giving us a little more excitement and giving us a little extra added something to play for.”

    The Chargers' floundering on defense led to Cottrell's firing and Rivera's elevation from inside linebackers coach to defensive coordinator on Tuesday, one day after the team returned from an 11-day, two-game road trip to Buffalo and London.

    Those two games, in which Trent Edwards and Drew Brees were not sacked and completed 77.5 percent of their passes, led to Cottrell's early dismissal.

    But he was not fired for two games.

    At the season's midpoint, the Chargers are last in the league in passing yards allowed, 21st in sacks per pass play and takeaways, 28th in total yards allowed and 23rd in points allowed per game. The Chargers have faced the most passes in the league and still opposing quarterbacks are completing an astonishing 68.1 percent of their passes.

    While players have struggled and Cottrell could have been more aggressive on both the front and back ends, coach Norv Turner has beat the drum for more pressure on the quarterback for weeks. Guaranteed, Rivera will put an emphasis on more creative blitzes and just plain more people going after quarterbacks.

    Rivera has studied tapes of Wade Phillips' Chargers defense from 2006. He didn't say he'd run a carbon copy, but it is certain he will be more apt to let his horses run.

    That will make a lot of people on defense happy
    .
    No one outright criticized Cottrell publicly.

    “Were we put in the best situations? Not always,” cornerback Quentin Jammer said. “But we were put in the position to play and win games.”

    But there have been some inside the locker room less than thrilled with their roles almost since the first month of last season.

    “I was in coverage a lot more,” Phillips said. “As a pass rusher, that's the last thing you want to do. We'll do anything to help the team, but I just believe if it's a pressure problem, a guy like me should be sent more and we'll take our chances. That way it can all fall on me. It's hard for me to take that responsibility when I'm not going as much as I can go.”

    Team sources said, too, that Rivera will simplify the defense, which goes along with blitzing more and goes along with the message the players received from their new boss.

    He told them they need to do their own jobs, tackle better, be where they're supposed to be.

    “Let's take it all the way back to the beginning and start there,” end Luis Castillo said of Rivera's message. “Play full speed, fundamentally sound. It's not drastic (change). It's about being fundamentally better.”

    Jammer has been preaching as long as anyone has been listening this season that “it's up to the players to play the defense right. If you play it right, you can cut out a lot of mistakes. This is not rocket science; it's football.”

    That might be news to some who have watched the defense for the majority of games this season. But Jammer believes players will stop looking bewildered soon, if only because there is no choice
    .
    “I think everybody is fed up with everything that is going on,” Jammer said. “That goes from the top down. If the players don't make the changes, I think the coaches will start making changes.”

    Turner and Rivera said changes in the starting lineup are not probable. But Turner indicated some playing time changes are in order.

    Rivera, who can best be described as cerebral, almost regal in the way he walks and talks, has his players' attention.

    Respectful of Cottrell's place before this week, Rivera was noticeably more assertive in front of the team Wednesday. He was seen after workouts talking with individual players as well.

    “It seemed like he was waiting in the wings for this,” Phillips said. “He knew what he was going to say. Now I think he's got the reins. A lot of guys already respect him, and he knows that, so he's going to cut it straight with us and tell it like it is.”

    UT
     
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  2. nickelbolt

    nickelbolt Fuggedaboutit

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    That's good shiit, Johnny. :bolt:
     
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  3. VikingBolt

    VikingBolt BoltTalker

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    This almost makes me think that the players were not playing up to their ability, with the intention of hoping Ted would be leaving. Hmmmm...
     
  4. Sydalish

    Sydalish Addicted to Sports

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    this article makes me all warm and fuzzy inside... :)
     
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  5. BlueBolt

    BlueBolt Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like the boys on defense are going to be pinning their ears back and flying at the QB following the bye :)
     
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  6. cranberry

    cranberry BoltTalker

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    Wish all came down to he point, the defense plays like we all are waiting for.
     
  7. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    I'll wait until three games in the second half to see if changes have indeed occurred.

    Under TC these guy's appeared to get fat and sassy, now their is a new sheriff in town, I hope he carries a big stick. Sheriff Pusser, is that you?
     
  8. BOLTS4LIFE

    BOLTS4LIFE Banned Banned

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    I don't understand why AJ didn't bring in Rivera as DC to begin with.
     
  9. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    RR wanted a head coaching job, not a lateral move. When the Bears let him go and he didn't get hired he took the job here. Think about it, AJ is about 3 years ahead of you, Rivera is now our DC.
     
  10. BOLTS4LIFE

    BOLTS4LIFE Banned Banned

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    I know that but he accepted being demoted to LB coach, I'm sure he would have accepted DC. AJ has got to be the ONLY GM that would take Ted (for DC) over Rivera.

    I'll give Norv credit for stepping up to AJ. If he didn't, Ted would still be our DC.
     
  11. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    Would it be to much to ask that just ONE damn thread stay on track!!!



    :icon_evil::icon_evil::icon_evil:


    naw, forget it, i enjoy a good chick fight!!!


    :icon_tease:
     
  12. henryqjr2001

    henryqjr2001 BoltTalker

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    Well put write up:flag:
     
  13. Ride The Lightning

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

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    He still had a job in Chicago as DC when he interviewed here for the HC.

    After Norv was hired here, Rivera was let go in Chicago. Dude took the job here to have any job.

    Chargers LB coach > Unemployment
     

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