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Ron Rivera, Chargers Look To Improve Defensive Playbook in '09

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, May 21, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    [​IMG]

    The San Diego Chargers' defense headed into the 2008 season with high expectations. The team was loaded with Pro Bowlers and playmakers, able to stuff the run, sack the quarterback, and force turnovers at an alarming rate.

    But expectations and performance don't always coincide, and what was supposed to be a strength became a liability. The Chargers limped to a 3-5 start due mainly to a defense that played uninspired at best, horrific at worst. They were so bad that defensive coordinator Ted Cotrell was relieved of his duties at the midway point.

    The man who took over, and who will lead the unit in '09, is Ron Rivera. Rivera has guided one defense to a Super Bowl, and looks to double that number this year.

    Helping Rivera will be a couple of former assistants from Chicago in Don Johnson (defensive line) and Steve Wilks (secondary). The team will also benefit from two pass-rushers in the lineup—the return of three-time Pro Bowler Shawne Merriman and first-round draft pick Larry English.

    So how will the Chargers return to their nasty ways on defense? Let's explore how a full training camp under Rivera, along with the additions to the coaching staff and roster will tweak the Chargers playbook in '09.

    Ron Rivera worked for some of the best defensive minds in football, including Buddy Ryan as a player, Jimmy Johnson of the Eagles, and Lovie Smith of the Bears as an assistant coach. He is well-versed in virtually every defensive scheme.

    Rivera will keep the base 3-4 defense in San Diego. What will change is some of the techniques used to better use the strengths of his players.

    With the addition of line coach Johnson, expect less two-gap technique, where defensive linemen are responsible for containing both gaps to either side of them. San Diego's linemen strength is speed, so expect to see them lined up more frequently in the gaps, penetrating into the backfield, similar to how defensive linemen in a 4-3 defense play.

    Under Cotrell, the defensive backs played a lot of cover three zone and off-man coverage, allowing receivers a free release at the line of scrimmage. San Diego's cornerbacks are big and physical.

    Rivera and Wilks will put more emphasis on press coverage, both man and cover two zone, where the corners challenge the receivers at the line of scrimmage, trying to disrupt their routes and buying time for the pass-rushers. Defensive backs will also get more blitz opportunities under Rivera and Wilks.

    Other changes will occur in sub packages, both nickel and dime packages. Under Cotrell, the Chargers used a straight four-man rush, with Phillips and Merriman lining up at defensive end in a three-point stance.

    Too often this allowed better offensive lines to get in the proper blocking assignments, and for backs and tight ends to get chip-blocks on Merriman and Phillips.

    Rivera knows he has a wealth of pass-rushers in Merriman, Phillips, Tucker, Applewhite, and now English. Instead of lining up four guys that can be easily spotted, expect Rivera to use three and four of his pass-rushers at the same time, with only one or two defensive linemen in obvious pass situations.

    Sometimes two will come, sometimes four will come, but offensive linemen will have a difficult time figuring out which ones are coming and from where.

    The Chargers will remain a 3-4 defense, despite speculation to the contrary. What Rivera and his assistants will do is incorporate some of those defensive techniques from the blitzing 4-3 and Tampa 2 into the 3-4 base.

    Many of these techniques, such as gap penetration and press coverage, better suit the strengths of San Diego's defenders. Rivera wants a defense that is fast, aggressive, and physical, and he has the players to do it.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/180025-rivera-chargers-look-to-imrove-defensive-playbook-in-09
     
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  2. Nomadic Bolt Fan

    Nomadic Bolt Fan Well-Known Member

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    I for one am excited to see how Ron's changes how the defense plays. :tup:

    I thought Teddy was not aggressive enough.
     
  3. !~BOLT~!

    !~BOLT~! Well-Known Member

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    Man that article got me pumped up!
     
  4. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

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    Even under Wade, I thought the DBs played too soft; press coverage FTW!! :tup:
     
  5. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    I agree but I think we will see a wide open attack from Ron, kind of like the brand defense the Stillers play.:tup:
     
  6. ChargerRay

    ChargerRay #FireMcCoy #FirePagano Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    I just got a copy of the entire defensive playbook. Take a look.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    It looks interesting and may even work!!!!!!!:icon_tease:
     
  8. boltssbbound

    boltssbbound Well-Known Member

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    Glad to hear about the changes in our sub and nickel packages. I think that our nickel and dime defenses have been too predictable. Glad to hear we will be mixing things up.
     
  9. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

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    at least it is not in crayon like the Raiders playbook
     
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  10. Cheapseats

    Cheapseats Loud, proud Charger fan

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    They have a playbook????
     
  11. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    Hey, I just found it Cheapseats!!!! :icon_rofl:

    [​IMG]
     
  12. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    I would love to see a very aggressive defense that is out on the field to knock the opposing player's into last week. I don't mind the taking of a flag to stop a sure score nor do I frown on taking shot's even if it might be a bit late. This is the NFL and every play counts one way or another, either for you or against you. Intimidation put's your opponent in your back pocket and causes them to make mistakes.

    It works just go back to the 70's and before and you'll see how defense should be played. I hope RR is instilling that as part of his game plan.
     
  13. Aggieman

    Aggieman I bleed blue and gold

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    This is why I love this board.
     
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  14. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    We're just a bunch of sarcastic, crazies on this board aren't we Aggieman? That's why I love it too btw. :icon_eyes:
     
  15. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Who is sarcastic!?!:icon_evil:

    The voices in my head took a poll and we voted 7-3 that I am not sarcastic!

    :icon_rofl:
     
  16. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    If our defense plays soft then I'm done with this team. Beat the heck out of them and I'll be happy. I don't care how many flags fly, just win at whatever the cost.:icon_toast:
     
  17. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    You're being sarcastic again Conc.....
     
  18. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    :icon_eek:

    Say it aint so....
     
  19. Bagman

    Bagman BoltTalker

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    RR is going to give us an attacking defense with schemes similar to those of Jim Johnson. Both 3-4 & 4-3 hybrid looks. I expect to see English, Merriman, & SP with their hands on the ground at times this year.

    My dream D looks like this:

    Castillo Jamal Martin

    English Merriman Cooper Phillips


    Jammer Weddle Ellison Cromartie


    It probably won't begin this way due to Martin's rawness. I can see, if English comes on well, Merriman moving inside. Ellison, if he can stay healthy, should beat out Hart.

    And Wilhelm can go perform his dance recitals somewhere else.
     

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