SDUT: Chargers' Jammer isn't big on change

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Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA
Cornerback says he will stay with physical play
By Kevin Acee

September 15, 2005

Quentin Jammer has tried to change, to give receivers space and make it up with fancy footwork.

The Chargers cornerback attempted to be that kind of player for a time in 2004 and revisited it as an option yesterday. No more.

He knows the rules. He thinks he might be a marked man. He is troubled and hears that fans are, too.

But he knows who he is.

"I'm physical," Jammer said. "That's me. . . . It frustrates me it has to come to that. I only know one way to play."

Jammer was called for two penalties in Sunday's loss to Dallas, severely tainting an otherwise solid day of coverage.

The second of the penalties, a hold away from a pass, came on third-and-long for the Cowboys and extended their winning scoring drive.

Jammer, vocal in the past about the strict policing of defensive backs, was critical Sunday of the calls against him. He did not recant yesterday.

"I know I didn't hold the guy," he said. "(The official) threw the flag. I've watched the tape a couple times. There was no hold on the play. It could have gone either way. I thought he held me when he was trying to (get) by me. I went over his arm, we got kind of tangled. The other one was a blatant missed call."

When the NFL made illegal downfield contact a point of emphasis in 2004, attempting to free up receivers, Jammer took notice.

"It changed the way I played last year," he said. "I started backing off. I started trying to use my feet to guard guys. It didn't work for me."

After Sunday's game, he again attempted change.

"Today at practice I tried to play different," he said. "It doesn't work. I tried to play with my feet today. That doesn't work."

So he believes he has no choice. Asked what his plan is, he said: "Keep playing physical."

Anyone who watched carefully saw that Jammer's play was more than adequate against the Cowboys. Other than the two penalties and a play in the first quarter on which Patrick Crayton got inside on Jammer and ended up gaining 32 yards on a pass play, Jammer was a blanket. His leaping interception in the second quarter (disallowed because the Chargers had 12 men on the field) was as athletic a play as will be seen most Sundays, and it was one he might not have been able to complete in previous seasons.

So Jammer continuing to play the way he plays should be fine, provided he can avoid the yellow flags.

"You can't do it," coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "The grabbing part of it you have to have confidence the ball won't necessarily be thrown perfect, and if the guy does catch it, so what?"

Schottenheimer pointed out that the pass interference call against Jammer earlier in the fourth quarter actually saw Jammer in excellent coverage. The penalty was called because Jammer and Crayton were tangled up 4 yards out and Drew Bledsoe threw quickly.

"He was still well within the legal jam zone," Schottenheimer said. "You become a victim in a situation like that. He actually played it quite well. . . . If it were not a three-step drop (by Bledsoe) it would have been a great play. He had the guy wired."

Jammer believes he might have to be especially aware on the field – that his mouth may have gotten him in almost as much trouble as his hands.

"The frustrating part of it is I think I'm going to get those calls," he said with a grin. "I spoke openly about it. I'm pretty sure I'm being watched."

He also knows fans are down on him. A first-round pick in 2002, he has yet to become the shut-down corner envisioned.

But of anyone criticizing his play Sunday, Jammer said: "Those people are idiots. (They) don't know anything about football. . . . They're not going to bother me."

And nothing is going to change him.