The San Diego Chargers Have Kicked That Soft Label

By Ernie Padaon

Jan 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) is tackled by San Diego Chargers linebacker Jarret Johnson (96) during the 2013 AFC wild card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Chargers defeated the Bengals 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when the San Diego Chargers were known as a soft football team? That was the old San Diego Chargers. The new San Diego Chargers have a bunch of guys that are ready to play some football and play some physical type of football. I love the type of football that the San Diego Chargers have been playing of late.

They have been physical on the offensive side of the football and the defensive side of the football. They are ready to hit and ready to make plays.

One of the leaders on the defense in bringing that physical nature is Jarret Johnson. Johnson brought over that Baltimore Ravens mentality and is ready to punch people in the mouth. When a running back tries to get out on a screen pass, he is ready to knock that back to the ground. Any time he makes a hit, he wants to make it hard. Without him in the lineup for a few games in the middle of the season, we were missing one of those physical presences on the roster.

Donald Butler is another linebacker that is ready to lay the wood. He forced a huge fumble against Cincinnati down near the goal line to flip the momentum in the game. He is another physical football player on the roster.

Jan 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; San Diego Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram (54) celebrates with teammates Reggie Walker (52), Manti Te

Melvin Ingram‘s return to the football field added another athlete that is ready to knock some heads. With Johnson, Butler and Ingram flying around at linebacker, people are going to get hit hard. Those linebackers come out and make their presence felt.

Undrafted free agent Jahleel Addae brings another physical presence at strong safety. He has received a lot of playing time of late and he has made the most of it.

All four of those players that were mentioned on the defensive side, all missed playing time during the regular season. Addae wasn’t injured, but he spent a lot of the start of the season learning behind Marcus Gilchrist. With all of them healthy and on the field at the same time, the defense has been able to be a strength of our team. They have been able to bring the pain.

The physical nature doesn’t end on the defensive side of the ball. The offense has been playing very physical football as well. D.J. Fluker brought his brand of Alabama football to the offensive line and has been ready to destroy players from the start of the season. Even as a young player, he has been a leader on the offensive line.

Jan 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) hands the ball of to running back Ryan Mathews (24) during second quarter of the AFC wild card playoff football game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Mathews doesn’t do a lot of dancing when he runs the football. He finds that cut he needs to make and puts his head down and looks to drag some people around for a first down. Defensive players must hate tackling him. He seems like he is looking to make the hit, rather than get hit.

During the game in Cincinnati, Keenan Allen lead down a mean block against he safety and jumped up and celebrated that hit. The way that some of the leaders are playing is spreading out to the rest of the roster. The team has taken on a new personality and the guys are ready to hit. We are not that SOFT football team that we were once known as. Get ready for a fight when you play the San Diego Chargers.