Penalties leaving DBs defensive

  • Welcome to America's Finest Sports Forum and Podcast! is one of the largest online communities covering San Diego sports. We host a regular podcast during the major seasons. You are currently viewing our community forums as a guest user.

    Sign Up or

    Having an account grants you additional privileges, such as creating and participating in discussions. Furthermore, we hide most of the ads once you register as a member!


Oct 14, 2005

At this point, it appears Quentin Jammer will have to intercept 10 passes and save a baby to salvage his season in the eyes of many.

And Drayton Florence, well, it has been a bad couple of weeks.

He had "impermissible physical contact" with an official Oct. 2 at New England – the NFL says it was in the second quarter following a ruling that a Patriots pass was completed; Florence says he doesn't know what they're talking about – and was fined $15,000. Then he went out on "Monday Night Football" and committed three penalties and sprained his ankle. He is still limping and might not play in Sunday's game against Oakland

From Fallbrook to San Ysidro, El Centro to Del Mar, the questions about why the Chargers didn't sign Ty Law are being rehashed. Fans are darn sure Terrence Kiel is no Rodney Harrison. They wonder, even, if Bhawoh Jue is any better than Jerry Wilson. In a corner of the locker room, the members of the Chargers secondary sit all together, aware that they are being blamed for the team's three losses, the city's budget woes and a possible move by the team to Anaheim. "We're not bad," Jammer said.

It remains true today, as it did a few weeks ago, that the Chargers' secondary has been at times solid and at times permeable, its biggest problem being making plays on the ball.

While they were torched by Giants quarterback Eli Manning, the Chargers held both Dallas and New England 80 yards under their passing average against other teams. While Denver's Jake Plummer had his second-highest passing total of the season against the Chargers, Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger performed below his average standard in many respects this past Monday.

One play illustrates the secondary's season fairly well: Jammer superbly read a pass to Hines Ward in the end zone, jumped the route and had a seemingly certain interception slip through his hands, hit him in the facemask and fall to the ground. The Steelers scored on the next play.

Yes, it remains true that Chargers defensive backs have just two interceptions and have botched at least three times that many.

When it was pointed out that he had played well overall this season, Florence countered: "I wouldn't say I've been so good. I've been OK. No interceptions."

It also remains true that the team's linebackers are partly to blame for a pass defense that ranks 26th in the 32-team NFL. The Chargers play a lot of zone defense, and linebackers have failed to drop back at times.

"Everyone is going to look at the secondary," linebacker Ben Leber said. "I don't think they have played that bad. I don't think they deserve the flak they have gotten."

It remains true that the Chargers' defensive backs are committing numerous crucial penalties. But it must be pointed out that it hasn't really been much more than their share. Through the season's first four weeks, the Chargers had committed six of the 139 pass interference, defensive holding and illegal contact penalties called in the NFL. (As of yesterday, the league did not have those figures updated through this past week.) One of the holding calls was committed by a linebacker, so the Chargers' secondary had committed less than 4 percent of the pass interference, holding and illegal contact penalties leaguewide.

"I think we're getting more penalties because it's being cracked down on more this year," Jammer said. "There's a lot of teams who get the same amount of (illegal contact) penalties as we've been getting, which goes to show me that the referees are really cracking down on it."

The reality is there are only slightly more such penalties being called this season over last. But since the NFL started making it a point of emphasis last season, there has been a dramatic increase in the pass interference, holding and illegal contact penalties.

Now, it is true the Chargers committed two pass interference penalties, two defensive holding penalties and an illegal contact penalty against Pittsburgh. That was bad, everyone admits. But no one should be expecting an apology.

Jammer vowed, as he did earlier this season, to "keep playing (aggressive). They can't call it like that all season, every game."

But we can, of course, check back later in the season – or just two weeks from now, after they have faced Randy Moss and Terrell Owens.