McCree the mark of a leader

With the secondary in flux over the last few years in San Diego, the Chargers have been hoping to find a true leader that can elevate the game of everyone around him – enter Marlon McCree.

Marlon McCree is making his mark as much with his voice as his legs and arms.

McCree, a vocal free agent brought in this offseason, yaps virtually nonstop when directing the Chargers' secondary.

His words haven't fallen on deaf ears.

"It his leadership," said teammate Terrence Kiel, a strong safety. "He is a good guy off the field and that makes him a better guy on the field."

McCree's lips aren't the only thing moving.

"I have a motor inside of me that won't stop," McCree said. "Every game, every year I try to prove all my critics wrong, and myself wrong. Sometimes you say to yourself, 'maybe they were right."

McCree, a six-year pro, was an afterthought coming out of Kentucky, falling to the seventh round before being selected by the Jaguars. A year later he was cut, which fuels a fire that burns today.

What's a real gas is watching McCree play either free or strong safety. Among the questions the Chargers need to answer in this training camp is where to line up their newest acquisition.

McCree was the Panthers' second-leading tackle with 95 last year at free safety. But then again McCree had a team-high six interceptions for the Jaguars in 2002 at strong safety.

"I was a linebacker in college so I like being down in the box as a strong safety," said McCree, a three-year starter at Kentucky. "But I also have a knack for the football and that is what a free safety does.

"I can play either one and I just like being on the field; just wherever they think I can best help this team is where I'm going to play."

The Chargers' defense ranked No. 28 last year, but McCree said that stat could be askew because of the team being rated No. 1 against the run.

"We need to get off the field on third downs, keep them out of end zone and don't get beat on the deep ball," McCree said.

"Those 5-, 10-, 15-yard gains won't beat you. It's the big play and touchdowns that will beat you."

So McCree beats the drum, the one promising the secondary won't be scorched. He all but guarantees -- considering the stout pass rushers -- the defensive backs get their hands on more balls this.

"I see it turning," McCree said. "We got to be the benefactors of such a great pass rush. We ought to get a lot of interceptions, just because the quarterback is throwing it on his back leg."

SD Super Chargers Top Stories