San Diego Chargers: Energy on Defense Is Key

Alex RamirezCorrespondent IAugust 4, 2012

Nov 6, 2011; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers linebackers coach John Pagano (left) talks with linebacker Antwan Barnes (98) durign a game against the Green Bay Packers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Since 1960 when the organization was started, the San Diego Chargers have yet to accomplish the main goal every team desires: a Super Bowl championship.

As of late, offense hasn't been a problem. Philip Rivers has led the team since he took over the starting quarterback position in 2006 and has been the most consistent player on the roster. San Diego became a passing team after LaDainian Tomlinson began to decline and later left the team. In 2011, the Chargers were sixth in total offense but failed to make the playoffs for a second straight year.

On the other side of the ball, San Diego struggles. They ranked 16th in total defense and last in third-down efficiency in 2011. While they have Eric Weddle, All-Pro safety, the Chargers still need that one explosive player that is feared by opposing offenses.

Simply said, the Chargers need another Junior Seau. Their last was Shawne Merriman, but that didn't last too long. Oddly enough, by "another Junior Seau," I don't mean one player. The entire defense this season needs to be on their toes and play sharp. Linebackers and the defensive line will be huge in 2012 after having a horrid pass rush a season before.

Shaun Phillips and Takeo Spikes, the two veteran linebackers, have the talent to still compete and mentor young players like Antwan Barnes, Jonas Mouton, Donald Butler and Melvin Ingram.

At times last year, the Chargers defense looked lethargic at every area. The pass rush wasn't good enough to pressure the quarterback and the secondary would get beat more than half the time. In 2012, players need to come out with the energy as they do on the first play of the first game all season long.

Eric Weddle could very well be the best safety in the NFL, but he still needs help. Expect John Pagano, the new defensive coach, to have a Rich Bisaccia effect and instill a sense of urgency every down of this season.


Alex Ramirez is a Featured Columnist for the San Diego Chargers on Bleacher Report.