The play of the San Diego Chargers has been horrifying this year to say the least. The defense is giving up yards and points like crazy and there seems to be no answer in sight. The play of the defense has been terrible, but who is to blame for the stagnant effort on the field?
Do you put blame on coach John Pagano? Is it his responsibility to make the tackles and play with heart on the field? No it is not. He can only draw up the play and put the player in the best position to make the play. It is up to the individual to step it up and get the job done. Lately and in particular this season the defense and its play has been very concerning. The Chargers have continually given up 25 plus per game to their opponents.
The game of football is a sport about momentum and players need to play with great emotion to be successful. That is especially needed from your defensive players. The Chargers play has been stale and stagnant this season.
You will see a player celebrate after making a tackle 12 yards down field. You might also witness the defensive line just get run over on an obvious short yard situation. There is no heart from the defense and its captain Eric Weddle has one foot out the door and looks as though he has checked out mentally.
After the 2013 season the San Diego Chargers had a big decision to make. Donald Butler was scheduled for free agency and the team was considering on whether or not to bring back the linebacker. Butler was fresh off a 101 tackle effort in which he started 12 games for the Bolts. Butlers’ play had developed and the 3rd round pick (in the 2010 draft) from The University of Washington was looking like he was about to be a star. His play last year after signing the contract was concerning and it still remains that way for Chargers fans.
In the 2014 season Butler totaled 73 tackles in 13 games started. That is 28 less tackles while starting one more game than his contract year. That production is horrendous. I know tackles are just one stat, but fat is Butler from time to time is just not in the game. He is there physically, but you will not see any sign from him around the ball carrier. He can be dynamite on the field occasionally during a series, but the San Diego Chargers need him to step up all game long and all season long. They are invested in Butler and he must silence the critics with his play on the field. Butler signed a 7-year/$51.8 million dollar deal in March of 2014.
Manti Te’o is currently injured as is rookie Denzel Perryman. The Chargers recently signed former Chiefs LB Joe Mays because the team is so short-handed at middle linebacker. The time is now for Butler to pick up his game. He needs to lead this defense and start to play with some heart. He is still 27 years old and could have a bright future in the National Football League.