It's an encouraging sign that the defenders hit the practice field with pep on Wednesday. Jet lag can be a sizable obstacle when crossing the pond, but the Chargers seem to have managed just fine.
"I thought the focus was outstanding," Norv Turner said on Wednesday. "We worked on one portion of the game plan today. Tomorrow we'll work on the red zone, third downs, some other things obviously we have to handle."
QB Drew Brees
The cranked-up pass rush must start with the defensive line, as the linebackers have already generated more than 60 percent of the team's sacks. Luis Castillo, the best pass-rushing lineman on the team, must spearhead the effort.
"We have to be able to play better as a team, as a defense," Castillo said. "Whether it's the guys in the secondary being on their responsibility and giving us the time, or it's us, once he does hold the ball, making sure we get to him and we don't leave those guys on an island."
The defensive backs were hardly left on an island last week, as Edwards used three- and five-step drops to get rid of the ball quickly. Due to San Diego's soft zones and softer tackling, the Bills carved up the weak underbelly of the Chargers defense.
The Saints will not be quite so conservative, as Brees and coach Sean Payton love to push the ball down the field. However, there is no way New Orleans passes on the chance to incorporate some of Buffalo's highly effective schemes.
How will the Chargers defense counter? According to Antonio Cromartie, the answer is cranking up the pressure on Brees.
"I think you apply more pressure, you make him try to get the ball out quicker or make decisions quicker than having four or five seconds back there," Cromartie said. "It's better to put pressure on him and let him make quick throws to the point he may make a mistake."
The Chargers know all about pressure, and not just the kind that allowed them to lead the NFL with 61 sacks last season. With an international audience tuning in to see whether the Chargers head into November two games below .500, pressure has become the name of the game.
Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.