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Cottrell says Bolts defense can still get better

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    By JAY PARIS - September 5, 2008

    SAN DIEGO ---- It's true ---- the Chargers' season hasn't started and Ted Cottrell has already lost his hair.

    But don't worry about the team's defensive coordinator. His smooth scalp is courtesy of a razor, not fretting about what lies ahead.

    Cottrell feels better about his unit this year, after growing pains last year had some questioning the new coach's wisdom. But that cloud of doubt quickly dissipated once the Chargers righted themselves after a 1-3 start.

    This year? Cottrell can't wait to begin, while hoping his defense continues to grow ---- unlike his hair.

    What's hairy is monitoring Pro Bowl linebacker Shawne Merriman. He's playing with two torn knee ligaments, and among Cottrell's assignments is keeping a close eye on him.

    "It's how he feels,'' Cottrell said of Merriman's playing time. "If he is feeling well, his reps will be up a little bit. If not, they'll be lower. We won't know until he gets going in the game.

    "I can't tell how long he is going to go. Hopefully, he can go a whole game but we are not going to ask him to do that.''

    If Merriman is fit, Cottrell turns loose the NFL's leading sacker over the past three seasons. If not, Cottrell's got that covered, too.

    "We are prepared if he wants to play a lot, and we are prepared if he can't go much at all,'' Cottrell said. "Both ways, we are ready.''

    Cottrell was also prepared for Merriman to not to play at all. But Cottrell said once Merriman made his choice, he accepted the decision ---- whatever it might have been.

    "When I talked to him about it, he said he wanted to do it and I said, 'are you sure?' '' Cottrell said. "He said, 'yeah' and he had no reservations ---- he had his mind made up. I said, 'OK, lets go to work.'

    "Whatever he decided was fine with me; I wasn't about to push him into doing something that would hurt him or whatever. I told him his career is foremost in our minds; he is a young player.''

    So Cottrell doesn't grow older faster, orchestrating a defensive plan minus one of the NFL's most disruptive players.

    "Geez, we would not be as good ---- he is not in the Pro Bowl for no reason,'' Cottrell said of a Merriman-free defense. "He is a heck of a player and if he's not playing, we are missing him.''

    Rivals think otherwise.

    "The offenses would like for him not to play, I know that,'' Cottrell said.

    The Chargers defense, for the most part, played well last season and helped the team to its fourth AFC title game in franchise history.

    It led the NFL with a plus-24 takeaway margin, the first time since 1993 it earned that distinction. The defense also had a league-best 30 interceptions ---- its most since 1969 ---- and 48 takeaways. The Chargers had never paced the NFL in those categories ---- until Cottrell arrived.

    Beginning Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, Cottrell wants to build on that success, not rest on it.

    Cottrell, a 24-year NFL veteran, said there are two areas in which the defense can improve.

    "Our third-down percentage needs to get better,'' said Cottrell, the Chargers allowed a nearly 40-percent conversion rate. "What we need to do better is on first and second downs, to get to third-and-long. The percentages are much greater at third-and-long.''

    Also catching Cottrell's attention this summer was the Chargers' tackling ---- or lack of it.

    "I know it's preseason, but we need to make sure we are tackling,'' Cottrell said. "We have been working hard on that in practice, believe it or not.''

    While the Chargers can't knock the daylights out of each other in workouts, they can hone their technique.

    "You can't go full speed, but you can have a little bit better form, and I remind them what they have to do,'' Cottrell said. "Plus, having a lot of guys running to the ball. That way if someone does miss, there is enough people around there to take care of him.''

    Cottrell has been around long enough to know the Chargers can't go to sleep on the Panthers, that opening games can be tricky, especially when it's an opponent not in the same division or conference.

    "Their quarterback (Jake Delhomme) is healthy and he's very experienced ---- he has been to a Super Bowl,'' Cottrell said. "And they added the running back (Jonathan Stewart) and they have a great offensive line.''

    It's an offense missing its biggest weapon, though, suspended wide receiver Steve Smith.

    "But they still got (Muhsin Muhammad) and D.J. Hackett may be back,'' Cottrell added.

    Cottrell speaks, then removes his cap as if to run his fingers through his hair. Some habits die harder than others.
  2. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

    Aug 14, 2006
    I say Ted Cottrell could be a lot better, he's not creative, aggressive, or good at teaching the fundementals.

    I hope he's more like the 2nd half of last year than the 1st.
  3. Ride The Lightning

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

    Aug 15, 2006
    Yeah. Tackle someone.
  4. TheLash

    TheLash Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2006
    Hell, Tackle Everyone!
    • Like Like x 1
  5. foober

    foober BoltTalker

    Aug 17, 2006
    All I'm asking for from cottrell is he disquises defensively what our defense especially our front 7 are gonna do. Just don't give away what were gonna do and we should be able to kill opposing offenses.
  6. Cheapseats

    Cheapseats The fight for LA is over....LA lost.

    Jul 24, 2008
    Regarding the 2008 defense, the tackling will get fixed. This is a largely veteran team and they will push each other as hard if not harder than the coaches will push them to wrap up and tackle. Also, keep in mind we have been watching pre-season ultra-vanilla schemes with no Jamal Williams. Once that building with cleats starts clogging up the middle of the line the run defense should start looking like the late 2007 edition we all remember. Our starting secondary is a good complement to our front seven and we have quality reserves to rotate in to keep the starters fresher later in games, that is a luxury few teams have. This could be the best defensive team we have ever put on the field. I am hoping they prove me right. As far as Merriman's knee goes, he played several games last season with both injuries didn't he? He will be wearing that brace and I expect the coaches will "platoon" him and try have in on obvious passing downs to save a little wear and tear. If he can't compete at a high level I expect the coaches to shut him down and let Tucker earn that new contract money.

    I can't wait for Sunday!!!!

    :flag:Go Chargers!!!!!:flag:
  7. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

    Aug 3, 2006
    I don't doubt that's his plan. The offense will have some new and more advanced schemes and so will the defense. Our secondary will be a real game changer this year. I suspect that they will force the opposing QB's to hold the ball a tad longer or throw it away. Against guys with a tendency to force the ball, they will be poison. Cutler and Croyle will have to make better decisions against us than they have in the past or get eaten alive.
  8. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Amen. :tup:
  9. Zeus

    Zeus BoltTalker

    Nov 21, 2006
    How is he not creative or good at teaching the fundamentals?

    You made the statement now back it up.

    HE is a DC for a reason. He can teach fundamentals and uses exotic packages. Utilizing Weddle in special blitzs, overloading blitz packages, movements. He is more creative then many DC out there and MUCH more creative than Wade Phillips who is blitz blitz blitz prevent defense. Wade literally knows 4 defensive plays.

    When Wade tried to stop the Patriots his Defensive game plans was to "force Brady to throw".

    He is an improvement over Phillip practically everyone says his defense is much more complicated then Wade's.

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

    Jul 11, 2006
    I agree and approve of this statement. Our players need to execute on defense and we'll be GREAT. :tup::icon_toast::abq2:

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