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Chargers Breakdown: Eric Weddle

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Concudan, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    A good article from over at Bolts from the Blue...

    The closer the free agency period gets, the more I (and other Chargers fans) start worrying about the prospect of losing Free Safety Eric Weddle. If you had to name a specific "key player" for what the Chargers do on defense, he'd certainly one of the first few names you thought of....and now he's facing the possibility of being an unrestricted free agent.

    The question I keep asking myself is....how good is Weddle, really? Safety is such a hard position to gauge unless you're causing/creating turnovers like Troy Polamalu or Ed Reed, and Weddle doesn't do that. He matched his career high in turnovers this year with 2. So I wanted to take a look at his stats, both standard and advanced, and see just how good Eric Weddle is.

    Standard Stats:
    2010
    Games: 16
    Sacks: .500
    Yrds/L: 4
    Ints: 2
    Yrds: 64
    Tds: 1
    Solo tckls: 79
    Asst: 16
    Total: 95

    95 tackles, half of a sack, 2 interceptions and 1 TD. These stats are almost exactly the same as his 2009, where he had 82 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 interceptions and 1 TD in 13 games instead of 16. Are those good stats? Certainly, but how does he match up against the consensus "best safeties in the league"?

    Well, Polamalu is averaging about half an interception per game over the last three seasons. That's not an exaggeration, in his last two full seasons he's gotten 7(!) interceptions. Last year he picked off opposing QBs 3 times in jury 5 games. However, he averages about 20-30 less tackles per season than Weddle and, shockingly, they both only have 3 career defensive touchdowns in the regular season.

    Whereas Polamalu has only been getting high interception figures over the past three seasons, Reed has been doing it since day 1. In 127 career regular-season games, he has 54 interceptions. 54! And he's forced 10 fumbles! He blows even Troy away in terms of game-changing turnovers, but Polamalu plays more of a "Wild Card" role in his defense. However, his yearly tackling totals are pretty low.

    So Weddle gets less turnovers, but is more often playing the "safety valve" role and leading the team in tackles. Perhaps if he played on a team with a front-7 as dominating as the Ravens and Steelers he'd have more interceptions, but you never can tell. However, I want to look at what ProFootballFocus thinks of Weddle....since they rate players more on if they do their assignment well rather than the stats.

    Profootballfocus

    For 2010, Weddle was the third-ranked Safety in the league according to PFF. This is fantastic news until you realize that the two guys in front of him were Quintin Mikell and Michael Huff. Hmmmm, maybe something is broken in their system for rating Safeties. However, Polamalu and Reed to show up right beneath Weddle as the 5th and 6th best Safeties this season. Where Weddle seems to gain ground on them is by avoiding penalties.

    The funny thing about PFF's rating on Weddle is how dramatically it shifts from year to year. With 0 as an "average", here's Eric's rankings for the last three seasons:

    2008: -0.1
    2009: 7.1
    2010: 12.6

    That's certainly heading in the right direction. According to these PFF rankings, I can conclude that Weddle is a Top 5 Safety in the league and still improving....however, a reasonable NFL fan will tell you that on a team that has a #1 CB with bad hands there is going to be some reliance on the Free Safety to create turnovers.

    If you remember, the Chargers went almost the entire month of October without getting a single turnover in 2010 (and went 1-3 during that stretch). At least part of that needs to be thought about as the Chargers negotiate with Weddle and consider the possibility of losing him to another team.


    Check out other things from Boltsfromtheblue, and Bolt Hype, they do great jobs of putting thier takes out there.
     
  2. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    I would like us to add another safety as a future upgrade/insurance. I am not down on or thrilled at Weddle as our Safety.
     
  3. chargerlipz

    chargerlipz Leading the league in nose hairs.

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    The other safety position concerns me more than Weddle's spot. We upgrade there, we're good to go in the secondary.
     
  4. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    I agree. To me, Weddle doesn't get the recognition that he deserves because he has WAY too much responsibility. He has to make up for poor play at the other safety spot, and poor tackling from out ILB spot (Cooper).

    Get a better Safety to pair him with (May already have it with Stuckey, hard to say) and upgrade the ILB spot (We have Butler, but need at least one other legit starting ILB, probably 2)
     
  5. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    I don't think he's as bad as some people who love to bash him think he is but I'm very wary of all the love he's getting as well. I don't think he's as good as like Reed or Polamalu or just missed on a pro bowl season. I maintain he's a fine FS and we need more improvement elsewhere too
     
  6. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    I agree. He isn't top tier, but he is good enough if he had help at the other safety spot
     
  7. powayslugger

    powayslugger Feckless Slappy

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    I've always thought Weddle has done a decent enough job. Not great but not bad... he certainly isn't the weak link on the defense. If our LBs stay healthy and we find a decent safety to play next to him then he could look like an all-pro. Too often we are playing second stringers at the LB position and runners can break through into the secondary. He sometimes gets over matched with a tough TE or RB and it's almost comical to watch him try to bring them down by himself.
     
  8. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    People have a misconception of the safety position as it is truly played. The first step taken out of the set position usually kills the defenders ability to make a play, Weddle seems to make more right moves than wrong ones. Of course at the pro level it's all about deception and drawing one out of the play, the QB is the key to safety play, especially free safety. In a nut shell, the free safety must know what his three cohorts are doing instantly, he must read the QB like a book or the play will be lost. Make the wrong adjustment and say by by, whoever screws up underneath just made the safety's job harder and most likely the culprit on the success of the offensive play.
    They don't call them safety's for nothing, they are the last line of defense and have far greater responsibility than any other player yardage wise. Weddle is a good safety, he just needs a good strong safety and they will both become great. Can you see Jammer as the strong safety, what a one two punch that would be.
     
  9. ThunderHorse17

    ThunderHorse17 Lone Wolf

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    I dont doubt for a second that we wont eventualy see a Jammer/Weddle Safety Duo and will be one of the most dominant duos we have seen in a looong time.

    Hate on Clary I can understand, but when your talking about what Eric has done since he has been submerged in the system andstill floating I cant see any need to gripe about *how we paid too much to take a positoin of need* also many forget that there were MAYBE 3-4 heavy action roster spots available on our team at that time. We didnt need half and half ended up not panning out.
     
  10. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    I just used Jammer as an example as he reminds me of the prototypical SS, strong, fast, smart and not great hands. He can also lay the lumber when needed. Hopefully Stuckey will step up and bring that punch that just isn't in the backfield as of yet. WR's need to fear catching the ball knowing full well they will pay for the advancement with great intrest.
     

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