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Who Is the Chargers’ Most Expendable Starter on Defense?

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Miami Dolphins v San Diego Chargers Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Expendable is a polite way to say worst, really. On a team that, while slightly improved, hasn’t won 10 games total in 2 years, there’s going to be a lot to pick from for this question. One name immediately pops into my head. It’s Dwight Lowery. As of today, he is the starter. There is nothing he does above replacement level. In fact, his lack of burst in underneath coverage makes him a liability. Watch him change directions here:

This is simple. Lowery is to the bottom of the screen and has “backs out” his way. As a veteran, he should be watching his keys. Instead, his eyes are in the backfield and he loses sight of the fullback. The lack of any sort of burst here is eye-popping.

Let’s take first-timer Dexter McCoil for example. This is week 4. This is recognition.

McCoil reads a much better quarterbacks eyes and jumps the route. All he’s doing is his job here. That’s how you play the position.

Back to Lowery and the Miami game. This is one of the more embarrassing plays that I can recall from last year. Lowery started out on the bottom of the screen and rotated to the deep middle. It’s just him 1-on-1 with a receiver. He gets turned around for whatever reason, loses the ball and ends up giving up a touchdown.


In no situation should this happen. You do DB drills every day and are taught to do a speed turn where Lowery should just flip his head instead counter-clockwise. Instead, he flops his body clockwise. Again, this is a veteran making these type of mistakes. Which is why, for me, he’s one of the most expendable starters on defense.

Last one. Against the Chiefs Lowery gave up 2 out routes in the 4th quarter and overtime that went for 1st downs. It wasn’t so much the lack of execution on his part as it was the lack of awareness. This is a 9-year veteran who didn’t see an out route was coming on 3rd and short with a receiver lined up with this tight of a split. This is high school stuff.

Maddening. Yet, the team will likely trot him out there again this year and put him in these same situations where he just cannot compete at.

To answer the title question for me it’s Dwight Lowery and I’m not sure how close it is. We’ll be back later this week to go over who is the most expendable starter on offense.