Secondary Promises a Fierce Training Camp Competition for San Diego Chargers
Secondary a Fierce Training Camp Competition for San Diego Chargers
When a team makes a complete overhaul in terms of those responsible for overseeing the roster and the day-to-day football activities, chances are the configuration of the on-field personnel is going to change. 2013 will be a prime example of this for the San Diego Chargers as the team finally purged the old (A.J. Smith, Norv Turner) in favor of the new (Tom Telesco, Mike McCoy). The change certainly won’t be limited to these two areas for the Bolts as several positions will be featuring new faces in the upcoming season as well.
Three-quarters of the secondary from 2012 is now playing elsewhere in 2013 as Quentin Jammer, Antoine Cason, and Atari Bigby were all shown the door. Only Eric Weddle returns in the middle of this unit where there promises to be plenty of change around him.
From incumbents who were just buried on the depth chart to free agent pick-ups and rookies of both the drafted and undrafted variety, San Diego is sure to have a fierce competition in the secondary during training camp. These battles should ultimately benefit the team as the guys involved will summon up the best of their abilities in order to emerge from these contests as starters.
Even though defense was one of the strong points for the Chargers in 2012, the pass defense still had some lapses at critical times in games that cost the team victories. Having an open competition at these positions during camp will help to alleviate those concerns heading into this season.
Without further ado, here are the guys in the running for starting time in the Chargers secondary.
Derek Cox, CB
As the team’s high-priced free agent acquisition, one would assume that Derek Cox is assured of a starting position. Still, coming into a new franchise he must do his best to make the coaching staff feel comfortable with the team’s investment in him. Look for Cox to earn the top corner spot which will be a tall task given the Bolts’ 2013 schedule.
Shareece Wright, CB
After playing in the nickel for the past two seasons, Shareece Wright will have his first opportunity to earn a promotion. He has been solid as the team’s extra defensive back since joining the Bolts as an undrafted free agent out of USC in 2011, but in order to be a starter he will have to obviously stay healthy (which has been a problem) and show real improvement during camp.
Steve Williams, CB
Asking a rookie to start at corner is quite a big jump college to the pros, but Steve Williams has already been impressing in OTAs. He was a fifth round selection for a reason, and although he lacks of size at just 5’9” 181lbs. he more than makes up for it with athleticism. At worst he’s on a level playing field with his competition heading into camp which is definitely a positive as a rookie.
Johnny Patrick, CB
It’s hard to know what to expect from Johnny Patrick after the New Orleans Saints released him in February. He saw very little of the field with the Saints accumulating 30 tackles and two pass deflections with no picks in his two years there. The team saw enough in him two years ago to spend a third round pick on him, so perhaps Telesco believes there is some untapped talent waiting to be cultivated.
Marcus Gilchrist, S
After spending his first two years at corner, Marcus Gilchrist is now expected to start at the safety spot opposite Weddle. He thrived in that role during his collegiate days at Clemson, but playing at the pro level is a whole different ballgame. There will be an open competition for the position even though he is considered the frontrunner at present.
Brandon Taylor, S
If healthy, Brandon Taylor could give Gilchrist a run for that starting spot. After a torn ACL ruined his finish to 2012, Taylor has slowly been recovering and getting back into football shape. He has recently been seen doing sprints in OTAs and said he hopes to be ready for camp. If he is able to compete from day one, he could surprise some people.