Why San Diego Chargers' Secondary Is Underrated

Alex Ramirez@@alexramirez127Correspondent IOctober 25, 2011

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 25:   Safety Eric Weddle #32 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates his interception of quarterback Matt Cassel #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs with teammate Antoine Cason #20 in the final minute during their NFL Game on September 25, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San DIego, California. The Chargers went on to win the game 20-17. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

San Diego was first in total defense last year, and their secondary was a big reason for it. In the offseason, the Chargers faced a big task, re-signing Eric Weddle.

It went back and forth between the two, trying to get him to return to San Diego. AJ Smith pulled it off, but for a huge price. Weddle is now the highest paid safety in the history of the NFL.

Every starting player from last season's secondary returned for the 2011-2012 season. That wasn't it. Bob Sanders was signed in free agency after the Colts released him, but that experiment didn't last long.

Sanders has been injured the last three years. Through only two games, he went down once again. Not a problem though, Steve Gregory knows the system and was ready to step in as soon as he was asked to.

Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason have proven their value over the last couple of seasons, but rookie Marcus Gilchrist has been a complete score. When Jammer was injured and had to sit a game, Gilchrist stepped right in and made the plays he needed to make.

There has been questioning to the possibility that  Jammer could be moved into the safety position,  letting Gilchrist get experience at cornerback. Don't plan on it with Norv Turner.

Through six games, the Chargers are ranked fifth in total defense, and third in passing defense. They have only allowed 175 yards per game. Stats are stats, but the game is what really matters.

Quentin Jammer is one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the NFL. He has been for the last five years now. He plays very well against the opposing team's number one receiver, and doesn't get beat often, but he still goes unnoticed.

On the other side, Antoine Cason stepped in immediately with the releasing of Antonio Cromartie. He hasn't had that one big year that Cromartie did in San Diego, but he has definitely been more consistent over the years. When people think of the Chargers defense, they think of their linebackers, which is acceptable, but their secondary is the heart of the defense.

Most yards in the pass game come from short throws over the middle, where the linebackers are defending. Weddle leads the Chargers defense, and that's exactly why most quarterbacks are afraid to throw downfield.