One of the larger holes in the San Diego Chargers roster this season has been in the secondary. Quentin Jammer has had some off games, Steve Gregory is Steve Gregory, Antoine Cason is struggling mightily against physical receivers and Marcus Gilchrist looks incredibly raw. It's time to think of how this group can be fixed by 2012.
Step One: Quentin Jammer, SS
Norv doesn't want to force Jammer to move and Quentin likes playing on the outside. That's all well and good, except that Jammer is needed more at SS than he is as the #1 CB. A Safety tandem like Weddle and Jammer, two guys that can do it all at those positions, makes the defense ten times more dangerous.
Imagine, as an offense, having to worry about throwing to a couple of good Cornerbacks, knowing that Weddle and Jammer could play man-coverage on a TE, RB or WR without there being a dropoff in the coverage. Both of those guys can also play the run well and blitz well. The Chargers would immediately have one of the best Safety tandems on the back-end of their defense, which would allow for the Defensive Coordinator to take risks and show different looks on every play.
What we need is a fiery Defensive Coordinator that can convince Jammer that a move to SS is how he's going to turn into a star and start making Pro Bowls. Someone that tells Quentin "I want to move you around, having you do different things and showing different looks. I want to build this defense around you." I feel like that would be enough to convince him to get off of the island.
Step Two: Stuck at Cornerback
As far as 2012 go, the Chargers are somewhat stuck are Cornerback. Antoine Cason won't be cut because he has one (cheap) year left on his contract and they'll want to give him a chance to bounce back from this year (that started with a broken hand), although maybe not at starter. Marcus Gilchrist and Shareece Wright will still be here, and they've both been billed as future starters. Dante Hughes is signed for another year and has given the team no reason to look elsewhere for a fourth CB.
So what should the gameplan be for the CBs? Well, for one, improving the Safeties by moving Jammer will make it slightly easier on the guys that are here, but it wouldn't hurt to look around for a shutdown corner. If one should fall to San Diego in the draft, or if they could land someone like Cortland Finnegan, they should jump on it and then they can shop Cason around. If one doesn't, make it an open competition between the four guys here for the starting two spots and hope some of that potential materializes.
Step Three: Pass-Rush
The key to any good secondary is a good pass-rush. If San Diego wants to get back to being a tough defense against the pass, they need to do whatever it takes to improve the pass-rush immediately. Having guys like Wright, Gilchrist and Cason running around with no pressure on opposing QBs will do nothing but kill their confidence and stock around the league.
I have no idea how you improve the pass-rush quickly. You could try and bowl over a free agent like Mario Williams to get him to come here, or just cross your fingers when drafting an OLB that you're not getting Larry English part II. If the Chargers want to compete next season, and they do (whether or not they blow this thing up, the rebuilding process will need to be fast because Rivers isn't getting younger), it all starts with the pass-rush. That means making moves bolder than signing Travis LaBoy.