SAN DIEGO, CA: Freesafety Eric Weddle #32 of the San Diego Chargers goes up for an inteception against the Miami Dolphins during their NFL Game at Qualcomm Stadium in San DIego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
The San Diego Chargers' Eric Weddle is coming off an All Pro season in which he led the NFL in interceptions.* Somehow, though, people in San Diego and nationally** still doubt him. This is quite simply insane. Charger fans have for the most part given up calling for him to be replaced and claiming that he sucks and A.J. Smith shouldn't have traded up for him. That's not enough, though. Weddle isn't just "okay," he's arguably the best free safety in the NFL.
In 2011, Eric Weddle was targeted by quarterbacks only 27 times despite playing behind a non-existent pass rush and he intercepted better than 25% of those attempts. Really, think about that for just a second. In 2011, if you threw at Weddle there was a better than one in four chance he was going to pick it off.
He only allowed more than one completion in one game last season (in week 2 at New England) and that was also the only game where he allowed a touchdown. In addition to the gaudy interception total, Weddle also defensed*** four passes. That means he caught or knocked down as many passes as he allowed to be completed (11).
This wasn't a one year fluke either. Weddle has been one of the very best safeties in football since 2009. His first two years, he was just good not great. 2011 was merely the first year he consistently held onto passes he was in position to intercept. There's no reason to think we won't see an even better Eric Weddle this year with an improved front seven.
Be thankful the Chargers locked him up last off season and if you hear any of your fellow Charger fans saying he sucks go ahead and punch them in the face.****
*It was a three way tie, but tied for 1st is still 1st.
**Bill Williamson of ESPN ranked him as only the 3rd best DB in the AFC West.
***How is that even a word?
****I do not endorse violence. Don't punch anyone in the face. Thanks.