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Are Chargers Olshansky and Castillo Phoning it in?

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Igor Olshansky is in the final year of his contract. He was selected in the second round of the 2004 draft as a defensive end. While by no means a bust, he has not quite lived up to expectations either. In 2005 and 2006 he was part of a Chargers' defensive line that yielded very few running yards, but has not often gotten to the quarterback. His statistics are only marginally lower than they were last year, but he has not been coming up with big plays. Chargers fans may remember Olshansky from his hitting Bronco Tom Nalen on the back of his head after Nalen shot out at his knee on a spike play. He also made news by talking big ahead of last years playoff game against the Patriots. It has been some time since he did something really memorable on the field that changed the direction of a game; that may be somewhat unfair as in the 3-4 stats are harder to come by, but his stats thus far are pedestrian at best:

Sacks Interceptions Tackles
G Sacks YdsL Int Yds IntTD Solo Ast Total
2008 - Igor Olshansky 7 2.0 1 0 0 0 11 5 16

Ron Rivera called some players out for poor play in his first meeting with the players, and Olshansky's name was one of them. Despite starting in London, he didn't have a single tackle or statistic; he was a complete non-entity. Since his contract has not been renegotiated the speculation has been that he is playing a conservative game to avoid injury on the field; whether it is that or a deterioration in skills he has not been performing at a high level.

On the other side is Luis Castillo who had looked terrific in his first years with the Bolts. In 2005 he had 49 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 16 games. In 2006 he only played ten games but had 7 sacks and 38 tackles. Last year he suffered through high ankle sprains again and had 32 tackles and 2.5 sacks. His stats this year are not much better than Olshansky's:

Sacks Interceptions Tackles
G Sacks YdsL Int Yds IntTD Solo Ast Total
2008 - Luis Castillo 8 1.5 3 0 0 0 16 9 25

He was a force at the end of the Jets game, but that is really the only outstanding game I can recall him having. In the offseason he signed a 43 million dollar five year contract, but thus far this season he really hasn't been collapsing the pocket the way he has in the past. Whether it is a question of injuries, complacency or fear of injuries these two need to play better if the Chargers are going to salvage this season. Jamal Williams at nose tackle has largely returned to form; but he can't do it alone. Right now Football Outsiders has us rated as one of the worst defensive lines in the league; this after being considered one of the best.