Common Theme

Defense wins Championships is the old adage. Just ask the Rams and Chiefs this year.<br><br> While watching the conference championship games, you couldn't help but notice one common theme that propelled New England and Carolina to victory. Both teams ran the ball well, played great defense and didn't make mistakes. <br><br> Remember that philosophy? The San Diego Chargers have one of those nailed down – now about the other…

Since the NFL is a copycat league, you can bet more teams will be relying on that philosophy in 2004.

Forget about the high-power passing game of the Indianapolis Colts. It's a running game and defense that get you to the Super Bowl. LaDainian Tomlinson ensures our running game is around to stay.

You can bet the Chargers with Wade Phillips at the helm will focus on defensive schemes in 2004.
  • Jake Delhomme are going to the Super Bowl. Who says you need to have a big-name, first-round quarterback to lead you to the Super Bowl.

    Certainly Brady would now be considered a franchise quarterback, but Delhomme in no way, shape or form would fit into that category.

    A winning quarterback need only to keep the chains moving by converting some third downs and take care of the football.

    And maybe Drew Brees is not that guy based on his third down "accomplishments" of 2003. But it really is about defense first – a defense that won't put the Chargers behind by 20 heading into the fourth quarter.

  • Ty Law is 5-foot-11. Both had three interceptions in the championship game by being around the football.

    While it is nice to have a big, physical cornerback who can cover, they don't grow on trees and the jury is still out on Quentin Jammer and Sammy Davis. Give me a little guy who's willing to mix it up and stay around the football.

  • But first and foremost give me some pressure up the middle from an unknown like Jarvis Green of the Patriots. Sometimes the little guys come up with huge efforts and that never happens in San Diego.

  • Next give me some blitzes and confusing looks. When was the last time the opposing quarterback checked off at the line of scrimmage against the Bolts? When was the last time a quarterback didn't see a Charger defender closing in on the ball?

  • Wade Phillips is here to bring that change in philosophy. The Chargers will need to add some talent to their defense, but current underachievers will also be accountable. The Bolts can turn this around on defense with a new look and some determination.

  • Looking at the Super Bowl combatants, it is clear it starts on defense and ends with defense.

  • Denis Savage can be reached at

    Dale Lolley contributed to this report

SD Super Chargers Top Stories