Last season, Matt Schaub threw more interceptions than touchdowns in half of the Houston Texans regular season games. The Texans won all eight of those games. They went 4-4 in the other eight. Good news, right? Wrong.
The San Diego Chargers finished the 2012 season with a positive turnover differential (+2), which seems good until you realize that they got 10 turnovers in two games because of Matt Cassel. On top of that, here are the players on San Diego's defense that forced the most turnovers last year:
- Eric Weddle (5)
- Quentin Jammer (4)
- Antoine Cason (4)
- Demorrio Williams (3)
- Corey Lynch (2)
- Donald Butler (2)
- Takeo Spikes (2)
- Shaun Phillips (2)
The ones that are bolded are the ones that are still on the Chargers roster. Optimists are quick to point out that the players that have left have been replaced with better players (better than Eric Weddle? Sure, that makes sense). I'm quick to point out that some optimists jump off of tall buildings because they believe they can fly.
This is not the preseason and the Houston Texans are not the Arizona Cardinals. It is almost impossible for a team to generate a pass rush against opposing QBs without more than one highly-talented pass rusher, just ask the Buffalo Bills and Mario Williams.
While Dwight Freeney has looked great in the preseason, chances are that the Houston Texans have a full arsenal of double-teams and chips to throw at him to slow him down tonight. Houston is going to make Jarret Johnson (or a blitzer) be the one to get to Schaub before he can find a hole in the defense. That's going to be tough for John Pagano, but not as tough as.....
For as much as you might like the new guys in the Chargers' secondary, they are all very large question marks.
Derek Cox is here for games like this. A big reason he got big money is because of a great game he had against Andre Johnson last year where he held the big WR to 21 yards on 3 catches. In their second matchup, Johnson was moved away from Cox and finished with 273 yards on 14 catches. So, yeah, even if Cox has Johnson's number (which would probably make him the first cornerback in the league with that distinction), Shareece Wright and Richard Marshall will have to be ready for him as well.
Shareece Wright is as unproven as they come. In two years since being drafted, Wright has appeared in 17 games and has started none of them. His 61 snaps in the preseason this year were about half as many as he'd had in the regular season (124) in the last two years combined. He's untested and has shown a real issue with staying healthy, as well. The idea that this 3rd round pick is ready to be a top-flight starter with very little game experience is crazy.
Marcus Gilchrist is a safety. No, I swear. Forget the 900+ snaps he's had at cornerback in his first two seasons, the Chargers accidentally had him at the wrong position. Now that he's had 48 preseason snaps at strong safety, he's totally ready to be the glue that holds together the all-new San Diego secondary.
Fans of the Chargers that believe that this secondary can stop the Texans passing offense (without much of a pass rush) are also probably the type of people that buy lottery tickets every week and get emotionally upset each time they find out that they haven't won.
(Bonus) Arian Foster
Arian Foster isn't expected to carry a full load against the Chargers tonight, after missing the entire preseason. That being said, he'll be about as fresh as one can be and looking to make the most of his carries. The Chargers seem to have downgraded their run defense at several key positions (looking at you, Bront Bird and Dwight Freeney), which could leave them vulnerable to big plays from Foster and/oror Ben Tate.
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