San Diego Chargers Season Preview Part II: Defensive Front Seven

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San Diego Chargers Season Preview Part II: Defensive Front Seven
Harry How/Getty Images
Antonio Garay and Shawne Philips will play pivitol roles for the Chargers in 2011


There may be more question marks about the Chargers' front seven than anywhere else on the team. Despite ranking first in yards allowed in 2010, and second in sacks with 47, the defense got pushed around far too much when it counted, and struggled to apply pressure on the opposing quarterback when needed.

Chargers defenders know they were handed too many short fields from turnovers on offense and special teams breakdowns to take too much pride in that No. 1 ranking.Veteran off-season addition Takeo Spikes is an upgrade at RILB that should help matters. OLB Travis LaBoy, who has been very productive when healthy, should provide outstanding depth at outside linebacker.

There have been some very encouraging signs from some of the Chargers key developmental players during the preseason. First round pick Corey Liuget and third-year project Vaughn Martin have been particularly impressive. Second-year player Donald Butler, is learning on the job and has been holding his own for the most part. But it remains to be seen whether or not the very young core of the Chargers defense is ready to take that next step, and whether Greg Manusky, the Chargers new defensive coordinator, can mold them into a cohesive unit.

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