Chargers' safeties hit the spotlight

San Diego will head to Green Bay following their morning walkthrough on Wednesday and it is likely Donnie Edwards will not play in the game.

The Chargers star linebacker is recuperating from an ankle sprain and did not practice on Tuesday.

"We are not going to take any chances," head coach Marty Schottenheimer said, a day after all but assuring the media he would play in the game.

In what was a first, some of the safeties made plays on Tuesday. Clinton Hart and Bhawoh Jue each intercepted a pass and were solid all-around.

"The safety position is one that is not easy to evaluate until you actually play games," Schottenheimer said. "There roll in many cases is away from the ball. He is pushing Jerry and Jerry is meeting the challenge."

Jue, the lone free agent signed by San Diego, has looked hesitant at times in practice. He had not showed the attitude and veracity during the first two weeks of practice, seemingly bored at times.

That changed on Tuesday and perhaps it was the knowledge that a game is on the horizon and he can begin to truly hit and tackle.

"He has very good physical skills," Schottenheimer said of the former Packer. "He is a big, strong guy. We don't tackle downfield. It is hard to know for certain how that will unfold. He has done well to this point. We need to look at him in games, which is true of all the safeties."

Jerry Wilson is the man that they are all vying for. He is the quarterback of the defensive secondary, calling out assignments to the back half of the defense.

He deflected any battle talk, talking about the team defense rather than the individual parts.

"We have a lot of great guys on this defense," said Wilson.

Ironically, it is that savvy leadership that keeps him in the lead.

At some point, however, it must come down to getting the playmakers on the field. Whether that is Jue or Hart is still in question.

But how does the team replace the intangibles that come with leading players such as Quentin Jammer and Drayton Florence, two corner still on the upswing of their careers?

"Me being one of the older guys in the secondary, I try and let those younger guys know that it is going to fall on us," Wilson said.

And it has, especially without a pass rush. Until the defense proves otherwise, the secondary will continue to be tested.

Lightning Quicks:

  • Shawne Merriman will definitely not suit up for Thursday's game.

    "I had my head gear, ready to go on the field Thursday, but they told me otherwise," Merriman said.

    "We would have liked to have seen him play some," Schottenheimer added. "We are getting a number of young guys that will get a chance to play. I look at the positive side of it."

  • Schottenheimer was impressed with the way the defense played on Tuesday in practice.

    "Our defense stepped up and played particularly well in the red zone," added Schottenheimer.

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