July 24, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers assistant secondary coach Cris Dishman (left) gives instruction to defensive back Sean Cattouse during training camp at Charger Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
When The Chargers started the 2013 NFL season, it began with many question marks. There was hype but no real belief, there was talk but no real expectations. Going into week eleven of the season, The Chargers may have more questions to answer now then they had to begin the year.
Through the course of the season, Charger fans have come to realize that this is a team that is young and full of inexperience. In a word, The Chargers are in the middle of a “rebuilding” year, a year that unfortunately the team and the fans will have to swallow and wait for the organization to acquire and develop new or better talent.
Over the next few weeks we will break down the positions on both sides of the ball and figure out where the Chargers should focus their attention to improve the roster for the future. First up, we will start with the position that has garnered most of The Chargers criticism, the defensive secondary.
Let’s begin by dissecting the players of the Chargers secondary unit:
Derek Cox: High paid free agent in the offseason, has struggled in coverage throughout the season, has been burned on numerous occasions, been benched twice in back to back games.
Shareece Wright: 3rd year player, first season as a starter, has shown flashes of good play, been in and out of the lineup throughout the year due to injuries.
Marcus Gilchrist: 3rd year player, former 2nd round pick in 2011, versatile DB can play both corner and safety.
Darrel Stuckey: Quality special teams player, reserve safety, main impact comes on kick off and punt returns, free agent in 2014.
Eric Weddle: Unquestioned leader of the secondary. Has had an up and down season.
Johnny Patrick: Decent backup corner, played well in nickel situations, good plug and play option on defense.
Jahleel Addae: Undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan, has become regular in the starting rotation, big hitter, lots of potential.
Brandon Taylor: Former 3rd round pick in 2012, rookie season was cut short due to ACL tear, been a healthy inactive majority of 2013 season.
Steve Williams: Rookie 5th round pick, tore pectoral season in preseason training camp, very fast, good potential as a future starter.
Richard Marshall: Free agent pick up after he was released from Miami early in the season, backup rotational cornerback brought in for depth. free agent in 2014.
Crezon Butler: Street pickup for depth, mainly known for giving up the game winning touchdown to Tennessee WR Justin Hunter. free agent in 2014.
So where do the Chargers go next year? The Chargers will have 3 free agent DBs next year.(Butler, Stuckey, Marshall) Stuckey is the most likely to stay, his contributions on special teams have been greater than most people will talk about. The rest of the secondary that will remain will be one of the youngest groups on the team. There is not much experience but there is a lot of upside for the future.
The big question will be what will the Chargers do with Derek Cox? So far he is has not lived up to the 4 year 20 million dollar contract that he was signed to back in the offseason. If Cox is let go, I don’t see them replacing him with a “big name” free agent. The Chargers will have way too much money wrapped up in their secondary with Weddle’s contract and the money that will be needed to keep key players for the future.
However, if The Chargers do choose to go the free agent route, here are some names that could interest them at a lower price: Alterraun Verner from Tennessee, Brandon Browner from Seattle, Vontae Davis from Indianapolis or Chris Harris from Denver. The draft could be another answer to shore up the secondary. If that is the option The Chargers choose, keep an eye on Jason Verrett from TCU, Bradley Roby from Ohio State or Ifo Ekpre-Olomu from Oregon.
Regardless of how The Chargers decide how to fix their secondary, one thing is for sure it has to be one of the top priorities for the team heading into the 2014 season.
Bolt so hard