Jue driving hard for a starting job

The Chargers 32-25 victory over the Browns was an impressive showcase of the team's depth. While most of the post-game chatter centered on the play of the reserve linebackers, reserve safety Bhawoh Jue quietly had a nice game as well. In just his second game back from knee surgery, he appears to be returning to form and primed to push for more playing time.

Bhawoh Jue's first action came on special teams, as he got downfield and tackled Josh Cribbs on the Chargers initial kickoff. He did a nice job keeping outside contain on the play, something the coverage units struggled with from that point on.

Aside from his special teams play, Jue's primary contributions came late in each half when the team played prevent defense. In that alignment, the Chargers put three safeties on the field, keeping Marlon McCree up in the box and allowing Jue and Clinton Hart to cover the field's deep halves. Terrence Kiel replaced McCree in that set after the latter was injured.

"I think we did pretty well," Jue said. "Playing without two starters was tough. You continually do what you are supposed to do every play."

This allowed Jue to have a very efficient game despite his limited playing time. His best stretch came on the final drive of the first half, when he made back-to-back tackles in helping hold the Browns to yet another field goal.

Jue received extended playing time in the second half, as the Chargers opened up a two-score lead with over nine minutes left in the game. He did not take long to capitalize on that opportunity.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Browns had a first-and-10 on the Chargers 46-yard line. Charlie Frye took a three-step drop and tried to hit Cribbs on a quick slant. Jue read the play and broke on it immediately, flying up to deliver a big blow. Cribbs saw the impact coming and got a bad case of alligator arms, electing to let the pass fall incomplete.

"He has very good physical skills," head coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "He is a big, strong guy. He has done well to this point."

Jue, a former cornerback, is, perhaps, the team's best safety in coverage. Given his team's struggles in pass defense, it only makes sense for the Chargers to get him on the field more. In fact, were it not for the lingering effects of offseason knee and shoulder surgeries, he likely would have claimed the starting spot opposite McCree during training camp. And with the Bengals on the agenda, his services might be a must.

"They have one of the most explosive groups in the league," Jue noted. "It is a matter of being physical."

Keep in mind that, in 2005, Jue started 14 games at free safety and led the team in interceptions. Any talk about the Chargers stellar depth must include Jue, who proved again with his play against the Browns just how affective he can be when given the opportunity.

Next week, when the Chargers travel to Cincinnati to take on the 4-4 Bengals, we will analyze the play of rookie left tackle Marcus McNeill.


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