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Should Quentin Jammer move to Strong Safety?

Quentin Jammer
Quentin Jammer

No. At least, not yet. Now before we talk about why Jammer should stay at cornerback despite his worst year in recent memory, know that he was actually a safety at Texas. Although defensivebacks in general switch between corner and safety spots between college and the NFL level, Jammer struggled to thoroughly learn the cornerback position early on before finally in 2007 showing signs of becoming a top corner. But has he peaked? Is he on the decline? After a terrible 2011 season, it seems like Jammer has lost his ability to cover. Let's analyze a few aspects of his game, and also the team to determine if Quentin Jammer has what it takes to continue as a cornerback for the San Diego Chargers, of if he should be moved to safety. First, look at some simple numbers over his last few years courtesy of ProFootballFocus:

























Can he still cover?

Quentin Jammer struggled at times this year covering any type of receiver. Mostly speed receivers and "elite" receivers. For examples, see Oakland, Green Bay, Detroit and Chicago. However, he still posesses speed himself, as you would see by him actually catching up to Denarius Moore in the season finale. However, he still has issues tracking the ball and/or reading the quarterback's throws, as you can see from the first throw to Calvin Johnson in the Detroit game. His hands aren't any better than they were 4 years ago, as he still lets interceptions get through his hands, though he plays the ball well when a receiver is trying to catch it. Now while his numbers above show he's gotten worse in coverage, his yards allowed being higher leads us to believe that receivers are further down the field, which happens when the quarterback can sit in the pocket due to the lack of pressure. Just how much of Jammer's decline is due to having to cover for more than the magical third second? A lot, actually. Some corners are just talented at constant coverage (Darelle Revis, Brent Grimes) and some benefit a lot from good pass rush resulting in minimal coverage time (Asante Samuel, Corey Webster). This is also evident in that his teammates Antoine Cason, Dante Hughes and Marcus Gilchrist had terrible seasons as well. I feel that Jammer should have one more season to play at cornerback before his situation is assesed. Before he moves to Safety, we need to know beforehand:

Can he play Safety?

Before we assume he can be a safety just because he once was, consider that it took him 3 years to get used to playing corner in the NFL. How quickly could he make the transition into a Safety? Would he be an upgrade over Steve Gregory? (Obviously). He's already known as a physical corner, so playing in run support won't be an issue. If he wanted to, he could put on a few pounds to really knock himself into players on tackles. He's already gotten used to playing corner, and so would probably show his tendencies and instincts of a corner while playing safety. This would be terrible if a corner passes off coverage to him and he didn't stay on top of the receiver by instinct assuming he had help. He would also generally have to learn the playbook as a new player even though he may know most of the responsibilities. A benefit to playing safety, however, is that he would have to cover the tight ends one on one in some cases, and that would be a plus considering his size and strength, two qualities Steve Gregory lacks and Paul Oliver and Bob Sanders each have only one of. But let's say Jammer does learn and makes the move to safety. Now comes the question of

Who takes his old corner spot?

Let's look at the options:

Marcus Gilchrist

#38 / Cornerback / San Diego Chargers



Dec 08, 1988


Sacks Interceptions Tackles
G Sacks YdsL Int Yds IntTD Solo Ast Total
2011 - Marcus Gilchrist 11 0 0 2 22 0 24 4 28

Marcus Gilchrist may look like the automatic heir to Jammer's spot at corner, but he is not ready yet. In his first start against Miami, he had an excellent game in which he intercepted a pass and knocked away a potential TD, but that was just a tease for the rest of the year. As I pointed out in my defensive summary of the MNF game against the Chiefs, Gilchrist was absolutely roasted all game allowing 8 of the 11 balls thrown his way to get caught. Next week against Green Bay he allowed all seven of the passes thrown to him to be caught. Overall, he was tested 34 times and allowed 26 catches for 401 yards and 3 scores. Clearly, he has a lot to learn. Of course, letting him "just play" might help him develop quickly, or at least let the team know if he's be a career backup or future starter. What about the other rookie corner?

Shareece Wright

#29 / Cornerback / San Diego Chargers



Apr 08, 1987


Other than drawing the rage of many fans with his L.A. talk, we don't know if Shareece Wright is capable of playing corner because he's on the field for special teams and the 4 plays before the game was over vs Buffalo. Preseason he looked decent, but in order to be considered for regular season play you have to look great in preseason. Dante Hughes has the slot position locked up, though he was only a split hair better than Gilchrist was overall. The slot is harder to play since you don't have the sideline to help you, and also, the pass rush was so lousy this year that all the corners were bound to have a bad season. So what can we conclude?

Jammer should stay at cornerback

Although a bad year makes you want to replace a player, you have to look at the big picture. The whole secondary outside of All-Pro Safety Eric Weddle was awful. Only 4 interceptions out of the cornerbacks all season, just one more than the linebackers who don't see as many passes as they do. However, we've all been made fully aware of the deficiencies with the pass rush. If the front 7 can get pressure this coming season and the secondary isn't much improved, we'll know that they are at fault. For now, moving Jammer to safety won't fix his coverage issues any more than a flat tire will be fixed by moving it from the front to the back of the car.