If had an epic beard and played free safety for the San Diego Chargers, I would probably be irritated too.
Two days ago via SportsXchange, Eric Weddle expressed his frustration with the current effort being put forth by his team these past two Sunday’s. “We just have to do the things necessary to win,” he said, “Like don’t turn the ball over, play well on first and second down and give ourselves a chance on third down. We need to play team ball.”
These necessities Weddle is talking about have been completely absent in the Chargers first three games, on both offense and defense. Specifically last weekend against the Vikings, Weddle felt there was just some consistency missing according to ESPN.com, which is something that could become contagious. “We don’t want this to lull (us to sleep) and get used to losing,” he said. “We we’ve won a lot of games around here. It’s the approach. It’s the consistency, being a professional, coming to work every day and not letting the past week affect the way you prepare.”
It’s these subliminal and carefully word messages to one’s team that can inspire without calling anyone out. It’s the true sign of a professional and a leader, which is exactly what Weddle has and always been. However, the captain’s criticism was also constructive in that he praised the performances of cornerback Stevie Williams – who had to fill in for an injured Jason Verrett (foot) – along with Jeremiah Attachou.
The long-time free safety understands that he and his defense can control only what they can control, which is keeping points off the board. Now while it doesn’t help that the offense has turned the ball over eight times – possibly the reason for the majority of Weddle’s frustration – he also knows that allowing the 24th most points per game (tied with the Detroit Lions at 27.7) in the NFL is just unacceptable.San Diego has always struggled mightily against the run – a recurring theme throughout the past couple of years – and that might be the biggest issue Weddle has. Through three games, the Chargers have allowed 135.7 yards per game tied for 28th in the league, including 126 last Sunday to Adrian Peterson. A part from the 3.9 yards per rushing attempt the Charger defense held the Vikings to in the first half, it seems like every time an opponent puts the ball on the ground, it’s someone in the San Diego secondary making the tackle. This is not a good sign and Weddle recognizes this current Achilles-heel has the potential to be the downfall of what was shaping up to be a resurgent 2016 campaign.
Being the longest-tenured Charger on the defensive side of the ball, Weddle also understands that losing – especially to a worse team – can affect a teams psyche and wants to nip it in the bud. There’s no better way than to send a message to your team, as the captain, that mediocre performance is intolerable. “What is done is done,” he continued on ESPN.com. “Be coached up, be coachable and try and play better next week. That’s all you can really do. But let’s not get used to losing. Let’s not let this hang over our heads. Let’s try and put our best foot forward and get back to winning, get back to 2-2.”
This energy obviously surging through the heart and soul of the powder blue defense, while stemming from frustration, has the potential to manifest itself in a positive manner. That’s the best part about Eric Weddle. Even though this very may well be Weddle’s last season as a Charger, it’s a great sign knowing that he doesn’t want to go out without a bang.