Crucial to Success

He didn't play in the preseason opening loss to the Seattle Seahawks. And he's sat out more practices than he's participated in during camp. The San Diego Chargers need his presence more than anyone else on defense...

"Paging Marcellus Wiley, paging Marcellus Wiley."

The one man the Chargers can't afford to lose on their defense has been reduced to cameo appearances of late.

"I'll be OK," he claims.

We'll see. What we do know is the Chargers' defense isn't OK if Wiley is down for any length of time this season.

If Wiley can't deliver the advertised pass rush he's known for, the young secondary is going to be in for even tougher go. It's imperative the Chargers' top rusher gets right, or things could go wrong on the defense's backside. He injured his hamstring early in camp, but said it was minor because the strain was down low, near the back of his knee. But after sitting out a week, he aggravated it again.

Wiley is coming off abdominal surgery, after his sack total dropped from 13 to six last year.

The Chargers won't say the hamstring is serious -- and by all accounts, it doesn't appear to be. But Wiley is the defense's key, especially with the lack of depth behind him. So Wiley being sidelined raises red flags for a unit that finished last year ranked 30th overall, and dead last in stopping the pass.

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