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Push is coming to shove for Jammer

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/spt/columnists/rgosselin/stories/090905dnspogoose.7547c1d.html" target="_blank">Dallas Morning News</a>

    Quentin Jammer plays big in a league that wants him to play small.

    Jammer made himself a top-five NFL draft pick in 2002 with his physical brand of cornerback play at the University of Texas. He's 6-0 and 205 pounds, and he likes to knock receivers around in pass coverage.

    But an officiating point of emphasis in 2004 that limited contact with receivers forced Jammer to alter his style. If defenders touched the receiver beyond five yards of the line of scrimmage, they would be penalized for illegal contact.

    Jammer tried to play by the rules but struggled. So did his teammates, and the San Diego Chargers ranked 31st in pass defense last season. San Diego survived its shoddy pass coverage to go 12-4 and win the AFC West.

    However, the season – and, in particular, that rule interpretation – did not sit well with Jammer. He was flagged seven times for pass interference and four more times for illegal contact. Three of those penalties were declined, but officials still assessed 82 yards of punishment against Jammer.

    "I'm not comfortable with the way the game is played," Jammer said. "All the rule changes for the offense have altered the game. It's turned football into track with pads. Before you know it, the receivers are going to have a free run at you. You can't touch them at all.

    "They need to evaluate some of the rules in this league. Protect the quarterback, protect the players – but don't make it a track meet. We get paid a lot of money to do what we do but, at the same time, it's an unfair advantage for the offense."

    But the NFL isn't going to evaluate the rules. At least not in 2005. The hands-off edict for defenders remains. So Jammer has been forced to re-evaluate his game. And he knows one thing: He's not going to play like he did in 2004.

    "The rules got me away from my game," Jammer said. "When physical corners start finessing it, that's not their style. I know what got me here, and I'm going to get back to my roots."

    Jammer is not alone. On my training camp tour this summer, I discovered an attitude of defiance among the league's bigger, physical corners. Many intend to return to the coverage style of 2003. Translation: It's time to start knocking receivers around again.

    So they are going to challenge the pass catchers ... and also challenge the officials to throw penalty flags. If officials want to throw a flag on every passing down and turn three-hour games into four-hour games, so be it.

    But defenses are not going to allow receivers to run unfettered up and down the field like they did in 2004, when passing offenses re-wrote the record book.

    "The heck with it this year," Jammer said. "If they're going to call it, let them call it. I'm just going to go out and be as physical as I can and muscle people. I can run with anybody in this league. But if I'm as physical as I can be, I don't think there's a receiver in this league who can withstand my punishment for a full game."

    Jammer intimidated receivers in college. He set UT records by breaking up 21 passes in a season and 57 in his career. He also forced nine fumbles and had seven interceptions. But the NFL has not seen that Quentin Jammer yet. A summer-long contract holdout as a rookie prevented him from starting in 2002, then he suffered the growing pains of the position in his first year as a starter. Then the league changed the rules in 2004.

    Entering his fourth season, Jammer knows he is due to have a breakout season. And he knows there is only one way he can do it.

    "My mind-set this year is to play like I did in college," Jammer said. "I'm going to defend physically. That's what got me here. I'm going to go out and destroy at the line of scrimmage. That style can make me a shut-down corner."
     

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