To D or not To D

The linebackers cannot tackle and the cornerbacks cannot cover. The defensive line can produce a pass rush only once and awhile and the safeties are your best run stoppers. They are the San Diego Chargers. <br><br> Now what is wrong with this picture?

First let's not put all the blame on the players. We knew last year the scheme the defense was running was weak. We saw signs last year of this – with three Pro Bowlers playing on the team. Are the players really that bad?

I don't think so. I think we have the makings of a young, solid, aggressive defense. One problem: they're not aggressive. Very little has this team blitzed, very little has this team ran a lot of stunts or honestly much of anything. Just like their offense, they rely on the bull rush or vanilla defense as you call it.

You can come down on Marcellus Wiley and say he only has two sacks, but how many of you pay close attention to the game. Marcellus always has at least two defenders hanging on him and he is still harassing the QB. He may not have the sacks, but he is at least getting pressure.

You cannot expect Jamal Williams and Wiley to do it all. Yes Adrian Dingle has 4 ½ sacks, yes DeQuincy Scott has 5 ½ sacks, but how many of those came from Wiley being double teamed or Jamal being double teamed? How many times have we seen Wiley beyond the defender and see the QB streak away and no one there to have his back? I have seen a dozen times and just shake my head. Does this mean Wiley is playing outstanding ball or worth what he is paid? No, none of the defenders are, but he is not as bad as a lot of critics are making him sound.

To the rest of the Defense:

Donnie Edwards is still among the best linebackers in football, hands down. Zeke Moreno and Ben Leber are not that bad. Here is my thinking on this:

Hide the blitz – I know we can do it. Edwards and Moreno both have a sack this year from hiding the blitz. So what – we don't have Seau – does that mean we cannot bring a linebacker up the middle everyone once and awhile? Bring a safety or corner off the edge? Stunt left or right? Do something, please.

It is getting ridiculous watching these kids (and we have a young defense) sit there scratching their heads trying to figure out what their coaches are calling, I know I do. This excuse of, "oh they are out of position," is getting old. Why are they out of the position? How can they go from a top 10 aggressive defense to the worst defense in the league in 2 years?

Say what you want but we have a strong linebacking group, we have a strong and fast defensive line, and we have some good young DBs. Turn them loose, let them play some football. This is not the Buccaneer defense. It is the Chargers defense and it is about time we put some electricity back in the game.

Tom Criswell can be reached at

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