Notice how the word coordination figures strongly in the above statement.
There is no mystery as to why the defense is struggling.
Players have to be put in position to make plays.
Zeke Moreno is coming under fire as being too slow to play in the middle, but do not cast him away just yet.
Moreno is often on an island.
Zeke has always made plays during limited time on the weak side, where speed is even more of a requirement, so why is he now too slow to play middle linebacker?
Ideally, a middle linebacker should be able to run 7-8 yards in any direction effectively.
The Chargers are asking their middle linebacker to do much more, often leaving him without help.
Moreno's coverage area often doubles. That can make an above average linebacker look slow footed.
Looking at the scheme, man to man coverage forces the defensive backs to turn and run with the WRs. Their backs are often to the play.
Opponents can then go to a draw play leaving Moreno on an island. Donnie Edwards was on this same island last season, but the quicker Edwards moved out to his natural position as the weak side linebacker this year, where his speed was needed.
In zone coverage the safeties can help out against the run, though the Chargers are often so concerned with the perimeter they tend to scheme toward the outside.
This is because the defensive ends are not containing the pocket or sealing off the run effectively.
The lack of a true strong safety hurts Moreno here too, as the strong safety can often be utilized as a fourth linebacker.
Kwamie Lassiter is playing out of his normal free safety position on the strong side due to injuries, and had been shuffled from free safety to strong safety to free safety to strong safety during camp, while he was still attempting to learn the Charger defense.
With a defensive backfield compromised by injuries and youth, and the overall defense further compromised by one-dimensional pass rushers who are weak against the run, some adjustments are obviously needed in the game plan.
Adjustments that have not been forthcoming thus far.
This is where the word coordination comes in.
Is anyone there? Zeke needs some help.
Zeke is always around the ball, but there is no one around Zeke.
The run defense needs a rescue team.
With Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis looking realistically at a possible 300 yard rushing day this Sunday, one can imagine Moreno having fitful dreams the night before the game.
...He wakes up on an island...Just like the day before versus Denver, and the day before that in Kansas City...He pounces on a loose football and clutches it tight...He screams..."WILSONNNNNNN".
Gary Molyneux can be reached at DrMesmetism@aol.com
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