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Under the microscope

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://www.pe.com/sports/football/stories/PE_Sports_Local_D_chargers16.3de4e0f.html" target="_blank">The Press-Enterprise</a>

    <img src="http://bolttalk.com/images/dbs.jpg" alt="Charger DB's" />

    By JIM ALEXANDER

    The defensive back may have the loneliest job in the NFL, not to mention the one most capable of supreme embarrassment.

    If a lineman or a linebacker makes a mistake, hardly anybody notices outside of the film room unless it's particularly egregious. But when a cornerback or safety slips up -- either allowing a big gain or committing an untimely penalty -- his identity is known to all and usually accompanied by an adjective such as "burned," "torched" or "toast."

    The Chargers' secondary has had more than its share of public humiliation through the first five weeks of a 2-3 season. Today it's in for maybe its toughest test, against Oakland and its handful of big-play receivers.

    "They have probably one of the most explosive groups in the league with (Randy) Moss and (Jerry) Porter," San Diego free safety Bhawoh Jue said. "It's a matter of just going out and being physical and playing tough hard-nosed football. ... You get in their face and let them know it's not going to be easy."

    But hard-nosed sometimes comes with a price. Chargers defensive backs were penalized four times last Monday against Pittsburgh, and calls against cornerback Drayton Florence led to both second-quarter touchdowns by the Steelers in Pittsburgh's 24-22 victory.

    Through five games, the Chargers' secondary has been assessed nine penalties for 81 yards. Those penalties have led to five touchdowns and a field goal, including game-losing points the first two weeks against Dallas and Denver.

    Earlier in the year, Coach Marty Schottenheimer broke out boxing gloves and made his defensive backs wear them during practice, hoping that would cure them of holding penalties.

    "I don't think we need the gloves now because the penalties haven't been for holding," cornerback Quentin Jammer said. "They've been illegal contact, because we're still jamming guys outside of the 5-yard (allowed zone) ... I think we're getting more penalties because it's being cracked down on more."

    So, how do you change?

    "You just try to get your hands on him and, I guess, let go of him at 4 yards," Jammer said.

    But a number of penalties have been pass interference, which has little to do with jamming a receiver at the line. Of the four against the Steelers, one was for illegal contact (Florence), one for unnecessary roughness (Florence) and two for pass interference (Florence and Jammer, one each).

    "They (league officials) want to see points," Jue said. "They don't want to see 7-3 games. But from the defensive back's perspective, if you don't play physical, you give up 300, 400 yards in the air and you see your name in the paper the next day."

    Getting penalties is part of the price of doing business, Jue added. But when they're frequent, the price becomes too steep.

    "It's a thing we have to take care of internally," he said. "One thing we have to protect against is being a group that they look for with the flags. That's the way it was with Ahmad Carroll in Green Bay last year. He had one, two, three games where he had a couple of flags, and then all of a sudden he couldn't even look at a receiver without them throwing a flag. We don't want it to be like that, where they're throwing it because they expect us to grab."

    Oakland coach Norv Turner thinks it's a league-wide phenomenon.

    "I know there have been times in the past when it has been unique to the Raiders," he said in a conference call interview. "It's not unique to us any more. You guys saw it Monday night. Both teams, two very disciplined teams, were called for a lot of penalties (a combined 204 yards worth). I got to watch a lot of games on Sunday. When you see a team have 18, 21, 15 fouls, there are a lot of penalties being called."
     

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