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Defense working to force more turnovers

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Blue Bolt, Aug 3, 2014.

  1. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Oct 28, 2009
    Bolts believe it will be better to take
    By Kevin Acee
    AUG. 3, 2014

    Marcus Gilchrist recognized the route, quickly altered course, jumped in front of Keenan Allen and came down with the ball.

    Another takeaway by a Chargers defense that is coming off a season exceedingly, almost devastatingly, lacking those kind of game-altering plays.

    Gilchrist’s interception was one play, but there have been enough like it through the first week-and-a-half of training camp to signify a budding transformation that could portend a different direction.

    “Oh, we’ll definitely have more,” free safety Eric Weddle said. “How many more, I don’t know, but we will have more than what we had last year.”

    They’ll need to.

    What the Chargers did last year in salvaging a season and making the playoffs was as confounding as it was impressive.

    Perhaps no incongruity better illustrated the unlikeliness of their success than their minus-4 turnover differential. Of the bottom 13 teams in that category last season, only the Chargers made the playoffs. Further, just eight of the 60 playoffs teams over the past five seasons have had a turnover differential as bad as minus-4.

    Philip Rivers was intercepted just 11 times, seventh-fewest in the NFL in 2013. The Chargers’ 10 lost fumbles were exactly middle of the pack. Just nine teams had fewer total giveaways.

    Yet the Chargers tied for 20th in turnover differential.

    That’s pretty tough to do. And easily explained.

    They took the ball away just 17 times, third-fewest in the NFL.

    “Not good enough,” defensive coordinator John Pagano said. “Not good enough.”

    While it ultimately was good enough, it was just barely. The 17 takeaways were the fewest by a 2013 playoff team.

    The Chargers need to be more prolific thieves if they are going to get back to the playoffs, especially considering the apparent quality of their opponents.

    So . . . why should we think they will? What makes this year different?

    “We always stress it because of the difference and implications it has on a game,” Weddle acknowledged.

    Yet he essentially guaranteed the Chargers will steal the ball more this season. Not that we’d doubt Weddle, the same guy we figured was out of his tree a little more than a year ago when he said the Chargers would be in the playoffs. But, fact is, every team talks about emphasizing takeaways.

    The hope lies in plays like Gilchrist made, which looked an awful lot like one he wouldn’t have made in past seasons. Or at least not regularly.

    The difference now is that Gilchrist isn’t doing trigonometry while running.

    Where the Chargers defense is just plain faster with players like Steve Williams, Jerry Attaochu and Jason Verrett, it is also playing faster as a whole.

    That kind of fast comes from comfort, which comes from knowledge, which comes from experience.

    “When you know what you do, it isn’t really that hard,” Gilchrist said, looking and sounding more confident than at any time in his previous three seasons. “There’s no math to it. You know what you’re doing, and you can just play fast and make plays.”

    He’s not the only one looking and talking this way. It's part of a theme all across a team no longer getting to know each other at the same time they're finding out what is expected.

    Manti Te’o has been all over the ball much of this camp, including a diving interception off a tip by Shareece Wright on Wednesday. It was the kind of play Te’o made in college, where his instincts took over because he is comfortable in the defense and playing freely.

    “I’m no longer thinking of what I gotta do,” he said. “I just go and play.”

    Could this be a three-quarter speed mirage, a good half-dozen practices or even just wishful thinking? Sure.

    But the uptick in forced turnovers continues a trend from the end of last season.

    Of the Chargers’ paltry 17 takeaways, 10 came in their final six regular season games, a closing stretch in which they went 5-1. In their playoff victory at Cincinnati, the Chargers intercepted two passes and recovered two fumbles.

    “I think the biggest thing was the takeaways we had in the playoff games and at the end of the regular season was something we have to build on,” Pagano said. “I mean what we’re trying to do is how we finish those.”
    • Like Like x 3

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

    Jul 11, 2006
    I hope, I'm really seeing what think I see happening. If this team starts off at or above the same level of play during their last 8-9 games last year, it's going to be a great year. Anything can happen during the course of the season and usually does, more good than bad this year and these boys will be tough to beat.
  3. Joy Division

    Joy Division Slightly-known Member

    Jun 30, 2008
    I'm beginning to realize that it wasn't McCoy riding Tebow to a playoff victory,
    it was the other way around. They are currently both where they belong as far as their talent
    is concerned.
  4. Lance19

    Lance19 BoltTalker

    Oct 2, 2011

    Tebow finds his level.png
    • Informative Informative x 1

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