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Respect The Beard - “It’s going to be an amazing year this year.”

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Blue Bolt, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Oct 28, 2009
    Amazingly, Eric Weddle poised for more
    By Kevin Acee
    6 A.M. SEPT. 2, 2014

    Eric Weddle sat in the players’ parking lot, the closest spot to the fence.

    Inside the black Camaro with the blacked-out windows and all-black interior, he watched and waited as the unceasing line of red taillights inched toward the Qualcomm Stadium exit.

    After several minutes, without any outward indication as to what made it the right time, Weddle gunned the motor and moved the manual transmission into gear.

    Not 30 seconds later, even as there was still a steady stream of exiting vehicles, the Camaro was out of the parking lot.

    Excellent timing. Obviously the result of experience.

    The veteran maneuver wasn’t a surprise to his passenger.

    There are very few people as patently unswerving and entirely dependable in all they do as is the Chargers’ veteran free safety.

    “The thing I’m most proud of is my consistency,” Weddle said during the drive toward his North County home after Thursday night’s preseason finale. “And – knock on wood -- being injury free.”

    Eight years Weddle has been a Charger.

    Through the times he hasn’t been appreciated and the times he’s been revered, from the not-quite-enough of his first couple seasons to The Beard, two-time Pro Bowler and defensive captain.

    Everyone grows, learns. Certainly, Weddle has gone through an evolution – from guy learning how to play at this level to playmaker and leader. But, pretty much, Weddle is as Weddle does.

    It cannot go without acknowledging that what he does, primarily, is play football.


    Since becoming the starter in 2008, his second NFL season, he’s missed three games. All of those were in ‘09 due to a knee injury.

    The next season, he began a run of durability that is almost preposterous.

    Since 2010, Weddle has played all but 61 of the Chargers’ 3,957 defensive snaps. That’s 98.5 percent. Not only does no other Charger come close, there are just four defenders league-wide who played a higher percentage over that span.

    Last season, Weddle played a combined 85.1 percent of the defensive and special teams snaps. (The total snaps includes 79 placements, on which he does not participate.) There were six other players in the NFL who, like Weddle, played every defensive snap in 2013. There was not a single other player in the NFL who topped 82 percent combined participation.

    At 29, even after an offseason workout regimen he says has him in the best shape of his career, Weddle might need a few more snaps off. He may even, with some small part of him, wish for a break.

    But on Thursday’s drive, maybe around Mira Mesa, it was pointed out to him that he’d be mad if he was taken off the field. True, he acknowledged, he believes he’s the best player for whatever job is required.

    And there have been many jobs.

    It’s not just that Weddle plays every snap. It’s the snaps he plays. Weddle’s status as perhaps the most underrated safety in the league is largely the product of his being asked to play virtually every position except defensive lineman at various times over the past three seasons on a defense that has been lacking in experience and talent.

    “That’s what we’ve needed,” he said. “I actually relish those things . . . I don’t always make the play, but more often than not I do my job well, and it helps the defense.”

    And this season, perhaps of all of them, he wants to be a part of everything he can. He, like many veterans, was energized by the Chargers getting back to the playoffs, and he knows improved talent and greater experience around him should allow him to be more of a true free safety.

    “It’s leaving me able to, I don’t want to say freelance, but . . . ” he said.

    Weddle has clearly been enjoying himself, and he has been playing with a ferocity this preseason that is arguably unlike any he’s had before.

    His 23 snaps against San Francisco were as much responsible for the Chargers first-team defense shutting down the 49ers for the two quarters it was in as it was due to end Corey Liuget being virtually unstoppable.

    And Weddle being able to spy 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, roam the field rather than be in man coverage, be in position to make a tackle at the line of scrimmage, change course as he recognized a play pre-snap was due to the same factors that have him believing his best is yet to come.

    “You’re going to be seeing me. . . ” he said before pausing to consider how he wanted to phrase his declaration. “It’s going to be an amazing year this year.”

    That’s saying a lot, considering the high level he’s played at for so long and so often.
  2. SuperCharger92

    SuperCharger92 Winners Win

    Sep 25, 2011
    I truly hope so. I look at this roster and schedule and we should achieve a 10-6 record. The toughest games for us will be the 4 cross country games, @Buffalo, @Miami, @Baltimore and @KC. Not to mention @Arizona, @Oakland, @Denver and @San Fran. If we can go 4-4 on the road and 6-2 at home that will propel us into the playoffs.

    Teams like the Jaguars, Jets, Dolphins and Rams I feel will give us a run for their money. All have very good defenses and solid running games.

    We have to improve on red zone opportunities on offense and getting stops and turnovers on defense this year and improve in those situations from last.
  3. JohnnyX

    JohnnyX ☆☆☆☆☆

    Oct 7, 2010
    Time for the Chargers and Weddle to step forward and become the best team in the NFL. Which they're capable of being.

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