McCree wears Navy & Orange...and a bull's-eye

The Chargers had seen enough of Marlon McCree when they terminated his contract on Feb. 28. Now, they are assured of seeing him at least two times per season. McCree signed a contract with Denver on Saturday evening, hoping to lead the Broncos to their first ever win over Philip Rivers.

In his two years in San Diego, Marlon McCree helped galvanize the Chargers' secondary. The Chargers fielded the fifth-worst pass defense in the NFL the year before McCree's arrival. In his first year on the scene, the Chargers improved to No. 13 in pass defense. In McCree's second season in San Diego, the Bolts led the league with 30 interceptions.

McCree started every game for the Chargers last season, piling up 67 tackles, six pass breakups and three interceptions. However, he fell out of favor because of his glaring lack of range. He struggled to provide over-the-top help to his cornerbacks, which allowed opponents to hit too many big plays. San Diego allowed 37 plays of 20-plus yards, the second-worst total of any AFC playoff team.

McCree will compete for playing in Denver with incumbent starters John Lynch and Hamza Abdullah. Also in the mix is former Green Bay Packers safety Marquand Manuel, who also signed with the Broncos on Saturday. McCree and Manuel were teammates with the Carolina Panthers in 2005.

The revamped Denver pass defense will try to do something it has never done before: stop Philip Rivers. In four games against the Broncos, Rivers has completed 69 of 92 passes (75 percent) for 960 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions. Rivers also scored the only rushing touchdown of his career against the Broncos, part of a 41-3 win in Week 5 last season.

And Champ Bailey thinks Rivers doesn't have reason to talk smack?

McCree will look to stop the bleeding by fortifying Denver's secondary. His impact will come in the clubhouse as much as on the field, as he is one of the best leaders in the NFL. He will watch film with his fellow defensive backs, work on technique during practice and make sure everybody is ready to roll on game day.

If that strengthens the supporting cast around Bailey and Dre' Bly, Denver's pass defense could be scary.

The Chargers won't lose any sleep over McCree staying in the AFC West, as San Diego has seen him allow countless big plays over the last two seasons. While the Broncos are excited to see McCree wearing Navy and Orange, the Chargers see him wearing a bull's-eye.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. He has followed the Chargers for more than 14 years and covered the team since 2003.


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