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San Diego Chargers Defensive Analysis

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    [​IMG]
    Bleacher Report
    March 20 2009
    By Ed Lee

    About a week ago, I wrote an analysis on the offensive side of the ball of the current San Diego Chargers team. Now, I'm going to shift my focus and write an analysis on the defensive side of the ball.

    The defense is what failed us last year. Whenever we had a chance to wrap it up, we screwed up on defense. We missed our best defensive player in Merriman, but saying how our defense failed miserably just because of his absence is pathetic. Our defense couldn't hold on 3rd downs, and stayed on the field for so long. Hopefully with Merriman back, our defense will be back to the 2006~2007 form again.

    So here we go, position by position.

    D-Line: DE- We have Luis Castillo on the right side. He had some injury issues and he was a major disappointment, but he's a force when healthy and rolling.

    We lost Igor Olshansky through FA, but it really shouldn't matter. He was lazy and only played to his true potential only when the team was good. However, filling in his hole might be a bit tough.

    We have Jaques Cecaire, and Ryon Bingham, who are very hard workers, and they work their butts off when on the field. However having them as starters show that we have no depth at the end position. I expect to hit this position in the 1st round of the draft with Tyson Jackson, or by trading down we could get Fili Moala.

    As of DT, Jamal is a wall that stuffs everyone, but he is getting old, and we should start looking for a replacement soon. Or Castillo can switch back to NT, and find another player at DE.

    I know this seems unlikely, but if we get Julius Peppers.. I'd CRY.

    Overall Grade: B- We're getting up in age, and are injury prone. Also, our 'starters' are actually backups. We need some help here.

    LB Crew: MLB- This crew was pathetic. They couldn't give a stinking tackle last year, and messed up so much. We did get a developing starter in Kevin Burnett. He was a solid 2nd MLB for Dallas, and reminds me of a young Donnie Edwards when he used to play for the Chiefs.

    As of Steven Cooper, he has solid tackling ability, and good coverage skills. Still, I wish he'd stop showing off his stupid biceps and get his head in the game more. If he didn't get distracted, he'd be a mini Ray Lewis.

    Dobbins showed some solid fundamentals last year. He didn't seem to be afraid to tackle, and he was always around the ball somewhere. He was the guy who sacked Manning in the Divisional game on 3rd and 1 to give us the ball back. However, he was a liability in coverage. I saw about 3 balls soaring over his head at least every game he started.

    Siler was a spectacular ST player, and should be ready to move up the roster spots to get some game time. He hits HARD and he's freakishly fast. He didn't have much time to prove his coverage skills, but I expect him to be good because of his pure speed.

    Matt Wilhelm... or should I say Matt Wiffhelm. I cannot believe that he was supposed to be Randal Godfrey/Donnie Edwards' replacement. He can't tackle AT ALL, and without Merriman helping him, it exposed how much of a poor player he was. I hope we cut this guy soon, because keeping him on the team wastes money, and is a hindrance to other players.
     
  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Stephen Cooper a mini-Ray Lewis? :icon_rofl: :icon_rofl: :icon_rofl:

    Where's the defensive secondary analysis? :icon_huh:
     
  3. maestro876

    maestro876 BoltTalker

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    I disagree about Cooper. You may not like how he carries himself, but he is an extremely good linebacker. He's smart and talented. He's really the captain of the defense, making the calls and adjusting defenses. If you watch the playoff game against the Colts, by about midway through the 2nd quarter, he had Manning's calls figured out and more than once altered the defense in response, resulting in either no or very small gain for the Colts. Missing him for four games and waiting another few weeks for him to get back up to speed really hurt us.
     
  4. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Comparing him to Ray Lewis is laughable. :yes:
     
  5. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    Overall Grade: C+ Cooper was the only bright spot along with Dobbins and Siler in special teams. I want to banish Wiffhelm from SD, and get some good picks late in the draft. I hope we take Jermaine Phillips from TCU. He tore his meniscus in a freak accident at the Combine. He's very talented.

    OLB: This crew was better than the MLB crew. We missed dear Merriman so much this year. HE says he's stronger than ever, so expect him to cause some nightmares for the quarterbacks, and to boost our entire defense up a notch. I expect a 15 sack season from #56.

    Shaun Phillips is the paradox of our defense along with Cro. We know he's good, and talented. We know that he can be the other guy that pressures the QB to give some other players breaks. However, we saw this year that he cannot be THE guy like Merriman or D. Ware, and is best as the 2nd starter. With Merriman back, expect his playing ability to go up also.

    We cut Waters. I liked him. I thought we had a steal when we chose him in the draft. But, I guess not.

    Jyles Tucker: I call him Mini Merriman. He has the size, speed, aggressiveness, skill, and potential. I think if we give him more playing time, he will develop. I think that the contract we offered him was premature, but he should be a solid player in the future.

    Marques Harris showed some flash of talent with 2.5 sacks, and he was solid in ST. I don't think he has much upside though.

    Antwan Applewhite- Wow. All I can say is wow. I had no idea who he was when the season started last year. I love him now. He's just an aggressive player with great potential and talent. He knows how to play the game, and should improve. He's also versatile, and can line up as a DE if he bulks up a bit more. I'd keep him at OLB and let him become a beast.

    Overall Grade: A. This is our best defensive position. Hands down. And, some of our players are very versatile.

    Secondary: This is where we failed MISERABLY. Even when we had a pass rush in a few games, these guys couldn't get picks, stop the receivers from catching the ball, etc. We allowed 300 yards to Tyler Thigpen(Twice), Drew Brees, Jay Cutler(Twice), Manning, Matt Ryan, Big Ben, and a few other guys. We allowed a total of 11 300+ passing yard games. That's HORENDOUS.

    CB: Jammer- He's our best DB. He had a solid year, and really should have been sent to the pro bowl. Everyone underrates him because he doesn't get enough INTs, but he's a great player, and stepped up as the Defensive Leader with Merriman's absence.

    Cromartie: What happened to this guy? I personally have no idea. He hated being aggressive, and he hated to get messy and tackle players. He smiled when we basically lost because of him in a few games, and I think allowing Brandon Marshall for 18 receptions killed his mental strength for the whole season.

    He started the season saying he was gonna get 15 picks. He ended up getting a measly 2 against Brett Favre and his crazy "Fire into Double Coverage" passing game. I think he had an off year. I really do. I HOPE he did. He has 1 more year to prove to us that he is the player from 2007, and not 2008. I hope he returns a few kicks like he did in 2007 too. That should motivate him more.

    Cason: We hit the jackpot when we drafted him. He was everywhere where the ball was. He showed some good hands, and tipped a few passes here and there. He showed that he could tackle, and I think he should be our 2nd corner next year and put Cro as our nickel back to give him that motivation and confidence he needs.

    Safety: Clinton Hart- Talk about disappointment. He couldn't cover at all, couldn't tackle at all, and his neck rolls looked stupid. He eventually was benched for Paul Oliver. Good decision Ron.

    Eric Weddle- We gave up a lot to get him, but I think he was worth it. He showed fantastic acceleration, and led our team in tackles with 108. He was around the ball where ever it went, and showed that he could pick off passes too. He should be our FS for years to come.

    Steve Gregory- I am in bewilderment that he is listed as a safety in our roster. He can't tackle. He SIMPLY CANNOT TACKLE! He couldn't get Willie Parker down, and he's physically bigger, stronger, and bulkier than him. Parker owned him with a single stiff arm, and he fell like a baby. I hope he developes.

    Paul Oliver- He can play. He knows how to pick passes off, and he knows how to tackle. He started the final 2 games of the season, and had 17 tackles and an interception. That's 8.5 tackles a game. He intercepted Cutler's laser beam like it was made of glue. I think I'd give him a year to develop into his full potential, but starting him over Hart with Merriman coming back is also a good idea.

    Overall Grade: B We have potential. I hope Ron develops them, and I hope we get a good safety in the later rounds of the draft.

    Rising Stars: Paul Oliver, Antwan Applewhite, Luis Castillo, Antwan Cason, Antonio Cromartie, Eric Weddle, Brandon Silers, Tim Dobbins, and Kevin Burnett.

    Overall Defensive Grade: B. Hopefully with Merriman back, we can be a top 15~10 defense again. Also, I hope we address the defense with the 1st 5 rounds of the draft along with the O Line. With Ron Rivera as the DC, and our players being young, our future in defense looks bright in SD.
     
  6. maestro876

    maestro876 BoltTalker

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    I wasn't talking about Ray Lewis, I was just talking about Cooper, who I think is very talented and is a great linebacker.
     
  7. boltssbbound

    boltssbbound Well-Known Member

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    I agree that Cooper is very underrated. We were much worse on defense when he was out. As for showing his biceps, I think it's funny that this guy says he'd be a "mini-Ray Lewis" if he stopped showing his biceps. Is there a LB in this league that shows his biceps more than Ray Lewis?

    People need to back off of Cooper. He is not the problem. He makes a lot of impact plays.
     
  8. Dublin Bolt

    Dublin Bolt BoltTalker

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    Marques Harris is no longer a Charger.

    I've heard nothing about him since, anyone hear anything about where he might end up?.
     
  9. Zeus

    Zeus BoltTalker

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    A decent analyst.

    A couple of things. I really hate to do this however, but I most. If someone is going to write an article try to make it non bias. Going off on a tirade against Matt Whilelm the sacrificial lamb takes away from the article.

    Matt has shown flashes, and is alright in small doses. However, both him and Igor are for some reason blamed for our defense. There are a couple of other players than played worst.

    Cromartie, and maybe the worst defensive player we have Hart. Cromartie was a joke. Matt might have given up a TD. Cromartie gave up 2 a game. He was the most beat corner in the league. Sorry not even Matt lived up to the worst LB in the league.

    Hart was the worst starting safety in the league. Yea he was kinda injured, so were most of our other players. Even though he was funneled guys to tackle, even though he is supposed to cover TEs, he couldn't do it. He left guys open, left them untouched, gave up on plays before they were ended, and literally stopped chasing guys only to have Weddle run up behind him to bring them down.

    He has less than half as many tackles as Weddle. Even though Matt played less than half as much as Hart he has just 11 less tackles and one interception, something Hart, who couldn't cover an old lady in a walker, do.

    Our biggest weaknesses by far were, in order, Hart, Cro, and then Matt. However, unlike either of those players, Matt who was also injured was according to one of the coaches "one of the most improved players".

    As four our front 3 only Jamal Williams performed well. People knock Igor, but he did better per time played than either Castillo or his backup. In fact his backup did HORRIBLY. People wonder why Igor didn't play hard. Maybe it has to do with Castillo getting a huge contract over 6 million a year even though he has been injured almost every year he played and only put up stats that were significantly better than Igor's only one year.

    Biggest need on defense BY Far is DE. In fact we need a backup NT to replace Jamal Williams and a DE to replace Igor. Hell we probably need one to replace Castillo since he is injured ever year.

    I saw Applewhite coming before. I said it when the season started and he was on our PS he would be signed to the Roster. I said he could so some stuff and he showed the most given his previous position and pay of PS. Applewhite is a bull rusher that gets diluted against skilled NFL players. However, he is a hard worker with an eye towards the ball. He is better than most of our other OLBs in pass coverage. He is good at stopping the run.

    Examples of Applewhite used extensively is middle of the season when he was rushing the QB in rotation. He did better than the guy he replaced Polk and did better than Harris. Ron also assigned Applewhite to QB spy Garcia. Per attempt it reduced Garcia's yards, and big plays, by more than half. Applewhite was harassing him all game once he stepped out of the pocket keeping Garcia from running with the ball.

    He will be a role player and might be used to provide relief for our OLB in rushing the passer. He is however only average at rushing the QB.
     
  10. sdbound

    sdbound Well-Known Member

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    True, Copper hasn't killed anybody. Slacker.
     
  11. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    :lol:
     
  12. Alpenbolt

    Alpenbolt BoltTalker

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    I am not sure Steve Gregory is bigger or bulkier than anyone in the NFL, except maybe Sproles. I have seen the guy in person and was shocked how small he was. Frankly he looks like a soccer player.
     
  13. Ride The Lightning

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

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    Who is Ed Lee?
     
  14. sdchrger

    sdchrger Well-Known Member

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    Ed Lee is an idiot. :yes:

    Applewhite a rising star? :icon_rofl:
     
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  15. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    Yeah, our defense was pretty offensive last year. There is only one way they can go with the talent on that side of the ball.
     
  16. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    To give our defensive secondary a "B" is an insult to "B" players everywhere.
     
  17. Boltdiehard

    Boltdiehard Well-Known Member

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    I like Cooper as well. That said Igor is gone (thank gawd), Wilhelm needs to sit (and shut his mouth), Hart needs to sit and Weddle is on a short leash as well IMO.

    We need thumpers all the way up the middle after Jamal. :yes:
     
  18. Boltdiehard

    Boltdiehard Well-Known Member

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    And we need to sign Jason Taylor. :yes:
     
  19. chargerlipz

    chargerlipz Leading the league in nose hairs.

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    I read an article after that game & Cooper mentioned that he didn'ty really know which plays Manning was calling. He was faking like he knew, so Manning would keep second guessing himself and get flustered. The defense would shift around whenever Cooper yelled anything to try and make it more convincing. In other words, he's a hell of a bluffer. I agree though, I think he's a sharp guy.
     
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  20. TheLash

    TheLash Well-Known Member

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    I still like Weddle's football smarts and insticts, guy needs to bulk up and be a better tackler tho.
     
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  21. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    Wed's needs to be able to take a lick at folks but don't be an Eric Castle.
     
  22. Showmeyourbolt

    Showmeyourbolt Well-Known Member

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    They had 31 takeaways in 07, but still managed to suck in most every other defensive statistic. They performed similarly in 08, except that they didn't have the luxury of qb's throwing moronic interceptions in the red zone.

    The defensive line has gotten worse over the last two years since their peak in 06. Castillo's impact was minimal last year, and Jamal doesn't have the same kind of impact or consistency throughout a sixteen game schedule like he used to. Expect this unit to get worse this season since we lost a starter who managed to keep the position even while playing like a scrub, and it looks like we're going to simply hand the job to Bingham who has shown nothing.

    The outside backers had virtually no impact on any game last year, partly due to the defensive line, partly due to their own inconsistencies, and partly due to the fact that we were in nickel and dime so much. This group should improve with Merriman back, but I don't think he's going to have the kind of cure-all bandaid effect that others seem to think.

    The inside backers are mediocre. Cooper swallows up a bunch of the tackling numbers, but that statistic is incredibly overrated. DJ Williams has led the Broncos in tackles for years, but none of them have an impact on the game, and the same thing could be said for Cooper. I will say that he is the best and most consistent of the group though, and he seems to at least show a desire to make plays. Everyone knows about Wilhelm. Scrub who can't cover or play the run; nobody knows why he gets playing time. Siler has shown promise, and the rest of the backups are average to mediocre players that only get playing time because we have no one else.

    The secondary is what it is. One solid player, a couple of promising players, and a couple of scrubs. When you mix into that the fact that pressure generated by the front seven last year was dismal at best, this group ended up getting hung out to dry more often than not. I think that there is potential there though, and there's definitely more upside to this group than the current defensive line.

    Overall they get a D- for last years effort, and I don't expect things to get much better this year unless we have an absolute killer draft. Jamal and Castillo are the only consistent presences on the d-line, and the likelyhood that both play the entire season is minimal. If either one misses any time at all, the defense will fail unless we get some serious help in the draft. Any defense that plans on giving Bingham, Cesaire, and Scott serious playing time is asking for failure. If Cromartie and Merriman return to form, and we add two solid day one starters to the defensive line somewhere down the line, I think that it could be a top fifteen unit once again, but right now I'm just not expecting much.

    Also, I have to say that this is unit is embarrassing to watch most of the time. Not because they're a bad unit, but because they're a bad unit that can't keep their mouth shut. Wilhelm and Cromartie talk more trash than any scrub I've ever seen, and it just goes to highlight their immaturity and inferiority.
     
  23. Scott the Rock

    Scott the Rock BoltTalker

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    Luis Castillo needs to pick it up big time. He has a big heart but he needs to be better.
     
  24. Charger Dave

    Charger Dave Dead account

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    Personally, I'll be watching to see what Ron Rivera brings as a Defensive Coordinator with a full set of OCS and a full Training Camp behind him come September. He should have a much improved "healthy" squad working for him over what he inherited last season. It should be a lot of fun to watch as the year goes on - but it will be HIS defense regardless. :tup:
     
  25. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    You people.... Our defense, especially our secondary is a C-(being nice). At least last year.
     

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