Changes in the Secondary

The new look secondary figures to get a lot of work as opponents will look to see if the San Diego Chargers have improved upon their 32nd ranked pass defense from a year ago...

The face of the Chargers' secondary continues to change -- and after last year, that's good news. The team acquired veteran free safety Kwamie Lassiter to add some experience to a unit long on youth. The Chargers have been aggressive in rebuilding a secondary which finished dead last defending the pass in 2002.

Lassiter, an eight-year pro who came over from Arizona Cardinals, will try to line up a secondary which could feature two youngsters, and possible, three.

"The Chargers have a young, energetic team with great talent," said Lassiter, who signed a three-year deal. "This is an opportunity for me to help these young guys get over the hump."

The 6-foot, 207-pound Lassiter started 16 games last year and finished with 119 tackles, two interceptions and nine passes defensed. He's played in 110 consecutive games, with 71 starts, and recorded 24 interceptions.

"Getting him is big," general manager A. J. Smith said.

Getting everyone in the right spot will be Lassiter's chore.

Quentin Jammer, a second-year pro, is expected to start at one corner. Opposite him could be Sammy Davis, the team's recent first-round pick.

But just where Lassiter will land in the secondary remains to be seen. Veteran Ryan McNeil was switched from corner to free safety this offseason. Will the Chargers be content to let those two battle for the spot in camp, or slide the more versatile Lassiter over to strong safety?

There's a gapping hole there, as the Chargers released Rogers Beckett on the heels of snagging Lassiter.

There's a chance youth could be served at strong safety as well. During the recent minicamp, rookie Terrence Kiel was running at that spot with the first unit.

Either way, Lassiter appears pumped to flee the desert and land near the beach. That No. 32 ranking against the pass be damned.

"That's why they are getting guys in here," said Lassiter, who led NFL safeties with nine interceptions in 2001. "They are concentrating on certain areas of the team that need (help) and I expect to be part of it."


--Among the key players missing parts of the minicamp with minor injuries were: fullback Lorenzo Neal (hamstring), right tackle Vaughn Parker (shoulder), center Jason Ball (knee) and tight end Stephen Alexander (groin).

--The Chargers hope to have a the city of San Diego commitment to redo their stadium lease by Aug. 15. The next day is the team's hope preseason opener, which will produce a substantial payment the city must make to cover the ticket guarantee. The Chargers are worried that bad publicity could sour citizens on a potential new stadium.

Baby watch: K Steve Christie skipped the minicamp to be with his wife, who's expecting their child.

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