Chargers goal is load up on defense

The AFC West got a shot in the arm when Randy Moss was traded to the Oakland Raiders. Each team within the division will have to contend with him twice - and the Chargers feel they are ready to compensate for his addition.

Randy Moss is coming, and the Chargers are trying to load up.

With the talented Moss residing in Oakland, that means twice a year the Chargers have to match up with him. And right now, that looks like a mismatch.

The Chargers' defense made huge strides last year, but not on its back end. The pass defense was ranked No. 31, and obviously the unit's Achilles' heel.

And that was before seeing Moss snag jump balls out of the year twice a season.

The Chargers started adding to that secondary by signing Bhawoh Jue, a free-agent safety who spent his first four NFL season with the Packers. Jue has played both safety spots and was drafted as a cornerback when leaving Penn State as a third-round pick.

Jue would seem likely top push Jerry Wilson for a starting job. Wilson, who had become an unrestricted free agent, was brought back. There's also Hanik Milligan, a third-year player who is making strides and Clinton Hart, another emerging young player.

The Chargers also need to get a better pass rush from its down linemen. Last year it relied on its linebackers in the 3-4 alignment to pester quarterbacks, with Steve Foley collecting a career- and team-high 10 sacks.

The team could look to the draft to find someone to deliver that pass rush off the edge. It's doubtful they will draft any more defensive backs, as the unit is already young enough -- save Wilson and Jue.

Jue was considered a disappointment in Green Bay, where he started but 11 games and regularly drew the wrath of the Cheeseheads with his spotty play in the playoffs and other big games.

One way or another, they will have to account for the new addition to the AFC West family.

Lightning Quicks:

General manager A. J. Smith said the Chargers have arrived after last year's breakthrough season. But QB Drew Brees disagrees: "I don't think you can ever say that until you go out and win (a championship)."


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