There is a quote by Aesop that reads, "In union, there is strength."
That's the philosophy of the Chargers' secondary this season.
The group of defensive backs, led by safeties Jahleel Addae and Dwight Lowery and cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Brandon Flowers, have bonded as much off the field as on this year -- and they say that camaraderie will make for a successful season.
"It's not about just coming out here between the white lines of the game," Addae said. "We really have a love for each other. We've done off-season trips, we've had dinners, we do casual hangouts, we even have our own group chat [on our phones]. It's a different feeling. It's a different feeling, and you can see it on the field."
After last season ended, the group took a trip to Las Vegas. During OTAs and minicamp, they would get together regularly to grab dinner or watch the NBA playoffs.
"There's just that camaraderie," said cornerback Craig Mager, now in his second NFL season. "We definitely have a brotherhood going along in the DB room, which is really good.
"When you come out on the field and know that you're with people you treat like your brothers, you want to give it your all out there for them. You don't want to let them down. "
Addae, Mager and Verrett were part of a defense last season that gave up 5,791 yards (20th in the NFL) and intercepted 11 total passes, tied for 21st in the league. This season, they are joined, among others, by Lowery and cornerback Casey Hayward, who was part of a Green Bay secondary that included veterans Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix as well as Pro Bowl corner Sam Shields.
"We definitely had [chemistry] in Green Bay," Hayward said. "That's why we were able to be a good secondary. I think we have that here. Since I've been here, it's been feeling like home. Those guys welcomed me in right away. We definitely hang with each other. We're building that camaraderie. We need that, especially to bond on the field. We all have to have that trust in each other.
"If you feel like you can trust someone, that you can lean on them -- especially if you can trust them outside the field -- then when you get on the field it will be so much easier. It becomes so natural, so organic, that you can just go out there and make plays and fly around and be happy for each other when we do. No matter who's making the play, you celebrate with each other. And that's the sign of a veteran team, a smart team, an aggressive team."
Hayward, who signed with the Chargers in the offseason, sees promise in his new teammates.
"We have some really good players from top to bottom," he said. "It kind of reminds me of Green Bay. We were loaded a couple years when I was in Green Bay and I feel like we have some of the same situations here. We have three, four veteran guys that have played a lot of ball, and I feel like that does a lot of justice, when you have that kind of depth and experience. I think it helps."
It helps. So does the camaraderie and brotherhood.