Sep 9, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) heads up field past San Diego Chargers cornerback Derek Cox (22) during second half action at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

Should We Be Worried About Cox?


 

Sep 9, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Houston Texans kicker Randy Bullock (4) celebrates with teammates after his game-winning field goal to defeat the Chargers 31-28 at Qualcomm Stadium. At right is San Diego Chargers cornerback Derek Cox (22). Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

Earlier this year, The San Diego Charger’s new regime decided that it was time to move on from cornerbacks Antoine Cason, and Quentin Jammer. They promoted Shareece Wright to starting corner, and signed ex-Jaguars defensive back Derek Sinclair Cox to a rather sizeable contract. The secondary had been pretty awful in previous years, and wholesale changes were long overdue in that department. At the time, the changes gave fans hope that our backfield could actually cover receivers, and wouldn’t constantly get burnt like a piece of petrified toast.

The preseason came & went, and the starters did a pretty decent job against some really good teams. The Seahawks, Bears, and Cardinals were all pretty much held in check by the first teamers. Where they weren’t held in check, there was at least effort made to break up plays (Like when Wright tried to rip the ball out of Brandon Marshall’s hands). Not perfect, but at least the plays weren’t happening 20 yards behind the CB, like when good ole’ Cason used to get blown out.

There was a good amount of optimism going into the regular season, and we were all hoping to put the days of the big “over-the-top” play behind us. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. Despite a fairly solid run game, the o-line playing unexpectedly well, and Philip Rivers being on course for one of the best years of his career… the secondary continues to be the Achilles heel of this team, and this defense.

Many factors have contributed to our defense being in the basement of the passing stats. The first one is the soft play calling of John Pagano, where the cornerbacks play 10 yards off of every receiver. Players like Dez Bryant, DeSean Jackson, Kenny Britt, and Andre Johnson have abused our secondary, and seem to get open at will. Injuries have also played a role in our poor coverage, as our best safety has been forced to play in the box, rather than command the backfield. Perhaps the biggest reason is that every player, except for Weddle, is new to their position. It’s a new team, their first starting job, their first year in the NFL, or they are learning a new position altogether. Whatever the case, they all share one common factor. This is a totally new unit for all of them. They will need time to build trust with each other, and learn how to execute the new schemes properly.

However, one player I am starting to get concerned about is Derek Cox. Our pass rush hasn’t been above average, so our CB’s don’t get a whole lot of help. But, a cornerback should still be able to cover, make tackles, and minimize the big plays over the top. So far, Derek has not been able to do that very well. I would even go as far as to say that he hasn’t stood out any more than the rest of this group. This is a big problem, in my eyes, based on his contract alone.

The secondary showed improvement in last week’s game against Dallas, but after re-watching the game last night, I can’t say that I remember Cox making many great plays. As I said before, there are many reasons why this might be happening. But, we are now 4 games into the season, and I still keep waiting for him to step up, and make QB’s throw to the other side of the field. He simply isn’t drawing any respect from our opponents.

It is still early, and my hope is that this is more to do with Pagano’s soft play calling, and a new unit trying to get their feet underneath themselves. Hopefully, playing the Oakland Raiders this Sunday will boost the secondary’s confidence a bit. But, a quarter of the way into the season, it’s time for Derek to start playing at a level that commands the type of money we spent to bring him here. Maybe I am overreacting.  What do you think? Should we be worried about Cox?

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Tags: San Diego Chargers

  • 619chargers4life

    Yup worried as all can be . Pay that man all types of money to get burned ha . So lame .

  • tubbs45

    I think this has been an issue with the defensive scheme rather than the player. It just baffles me to see Cox 10+ yards off the line and the WR makes a quick inside cut and there is no way Cox can cut in and play that pass…

    • Tyreece Kaete Sr.

      So damn true along with doing that to Wright let them play press to slow down the WR not give them mad space press

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  • shane

    overreacting. cox has been solid imo. wright and other corners are the ones getting “burned”. in my watching of the games you don’t see many balls thrown at cox aside from the aforementioned short passes b/c he’s playing 10 yds off. i think he’s done a good job otherwise. you don’t necessarily want to hear a lot from ur top cb, ie revis, bailey, haden etc. he’s played well, tackled well…been solid. other db’s not named eric have sucked.

    • C.Steele

      Great point Shane! Of all the CBs to call out, you pick the one that has been performing the best. Wright has been getting roasted (and I’m a Wright fan). The others that have been pulled off the street don’t even belong in the league… #GoBolts!

      • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

        If you say so. I’m not the only one who has noticed. When I re-watch the game, and slow it down.. I am not seeing great play.

        • shane

          I’m not sure what you’re seeing? He looks solid, avg to above avg…not game changing plays, but not getting beat either. 4 pd’s…second to weddle w/5…i’m not complaining about him.

          • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

            Bryant blew past him for a TD 3 minutes before the end of the first half… let’s start there.

          • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

            It’s not even what I’m seeing. It’s what I’m not seeing. Like Derek Cox not on the field in the 4th quarter, and not making plays. And Marshall, Crezdon, and Patrick on the field.. Is Cox hurt?

  • Cgoodness13

    Our defense would be the best if this was 1960 and all teams did was run the ball seriously wtf Pagano this is 2013 and a pass happy league, your play calling is more out of date than Norvs. we need weddle back in coverage and our corners jamming Recievers at the line, both Wright and Cox have shown to play best when they are either in Zone or Pressing in man, does he not trust the all pro Weddle or the former CB Gilchrist in coverage or what?

    • Nick in PB

      I agree… this total zone scheme is weak. Then again, it mau=y just be that they are simplifying things with all the moving parts.

    • Tyreece Kaete Sr.

      Agree because Gilchrist was a zone corner so it was a good move to SS for him but the Def Cord. Needs to use it properly

  • Sergio Quintero

    To quote Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade: He chose unwisely. The chargers had a multitude of corners to choose from (Grimes, Shaun Smith, Talib to name the best), and they chose to invest in Cox, who watching him seems at best a number 2 corner who needs help quite a bit.

    Telesco in general has done a really good job, but this appears to be a mistake, Talib came in cheaper and yes had more baggage, but playing it safe is not going to get this done.

    • boltingindiego

      talib didn’t come cheaper he has a 5 mil cap hit this year compared to less than 3 for cox.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      You said it. Honestly, I have watched players blow past Cox for scores at least twice this season, and he was the last line of defense when Locker bootlegged into the end zone, and wasn’t even paying attention. He has gotten really lucky a couple times when he didn’t get called for PI, and when receivers have dropped easy catches when Cox was out of position. That play where Andre Johnson burned him on the cross pattern was extremely close to being a TD, had Marshall & Gilschrist not accidentally grazed his foot by a centimeter. When you add that up, that’s 3 scores, and almost a 4th.

      Not sure why people are feeling OK with that type of play. So far, he’s no better than the two we just let go, but more expensive. BTW, don’t expect much help from him in the run game. He almost deliberately runs the other way, and has only made one notable rushing tackle that I have seen, and he was late on it, and it was a first down. Meanwhile.. Marshall, Patrick, and Wright have all been involved with the run D.

  • Gunnar Martin

    Melvin, please hurry back. We desperately need you.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Best comment!!!!

  • Lem

    Not saying that cox is one of these but – Todays salary system you are worth whatever you can get, some players have pride and continue to try to get better others just want that one big payday. San Diego has definitely had it’s share of one time wonders.
    Not to worry about players over or under paid!
    Have all one year contracts with a 50% base salary determined on the # of years in the league and the balance 50% based on player results. With a hard cap on the base and flexible on the balance. We no longer would have the arguments about who is worth how much. This could be reset each year same as the draft, the bad teams have more money to spend. The current team would have 1st rights to keep players. The smart teams would remain on top!
    Work smarter and harder to get the rewards!
    Construction Workers that do piece work have the opportunity to make extra cash if they are better than the other employees doing the same job.

  • Nick in PB

    I think the duo of Cox and Wright will be a good one in the end. I am not as down on Cox as you are Peter. Those two need to get on the field and stay on the field. They need consistent play and I think it will come in time. The secondary scheme has been very conservative at this point. I don’t think the coaches have seen enough to realize strengths and weaknesses at this point, hence the vanilla scheme. I think having so many new guys out there that it’s messing with consistency. I say get these guys healthy and see what they can do in the long run!

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      I hear ya, Nick. I hope that is the case. I am not completely “down on him”. In fact, I am giving him a mulligan for the bad play calling. However, I have seen him do (or not do) some stuff out there that any cornerback should know how to do… basic stuff. No matter what the scheme is, he should be doing a WAY better job than Johnny Patrick, as Cox is our #1 CB. Sometimes when I’m watching, I find it hard to tell which player it is. I have to rewind & check the jersey #.. which scares me. When I see it is Cox, I think “Oh boy”.

      • Nick in PB

        I’ll admit, Cox is more of a number 2 guy thus far but so was Jammer and Cason was no better than a nickle or dime back. I think Wright is going to be a good one but he needs seasoning!

  • Nick in PB

    Guys, I’m not seeing it. I think Cox has played pretty well. He’s not a top tier CB but he’s better than what we had. Keep in mind, he’s still new to the system. I’m not seeing a drop off whatsoever from last season (just referring to him) and there is still a lot of time for this guy to get better. Corners are going to make mistakes and I haven’t seen him making a ton of mistakes.

    • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

      I’m with you. I am not too critical on him right now

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      He’s made a few. And our secondary was pretty awful last year, so a drop off would be totally unacceptable. Improvement was what I was hoping for. I haven’t seen it yet. That’s all.

      • Nick in PB

        OK, I have to agree with you there. I’m hoping that in time, we will be better. I think the talent is there. They are not on the same page just yet and the play calling has been more group oriented than individual cover. Except of course when we tried to get away with it. Re. Jackson!

        • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

          I think it will get better, also. I just wanted to see Cox get up to speed faster, since he has been in the league longer. I get that it’s a new offense, but I want to see him take charge. I was worried about his injury history, not his play. Now, I’m not worried about his injuries, but I’m about his play. Like I said in the piece, I’m probably just overreacting. Hope the people here are right about that ; )

  • Jordan

    Yes

  • Fredo

    I went to the Monday night opener against Houston and saw him play in person, but and honestly he looked lost