One of the biggest off-season priorities of the San Diego Chargers was to re-sign Brandon Flowers and keep the respectable tandem he and Jason Verrett formed in the Chargers secondary. The need was evident for the San Diego Chargers to spend the money on Flowers, but his play this season has been terrible.
It is a common theme for players to participate in games less enthusiastically when they get paid, hopefully this is not the case for Flowers. He has shown flashes of decent play, so he can still turn his season around. The overall play of the defense is concerning and Flowers just might be the scape goat so far this season.
Coming into the game against the Raiders, the Chargers were second to last in rushing yards allowed. The defense continues to play with no heart and to be quite frank, is very soft. Time after time the defense has continually shown no fire in its play. There are a few bright spots out there, but the game of football is a team sport. If you have a weakness, the other team will exploit it and make your whole team suffer.
Seeing Donald Butler getting out hustled on every play is a discouraging thing to watch for Chargers fans. There is a stat going around that Butler has only one tackle for loss on the season. As an inside linebacker, he should be getting stops like this almost every drive. Not encouraging that once he got paid his play has tailed off noticeably. With Manti Te’o and Denzel Perryman both injured, the team picked up Joe Mays to play some snaps at middle linebacker. Clearly the Chargers are not happy with Butlers’ play, but at this point there is nothing they can do. They are invested in him, he knows the system, and he is healthy.
Losing Eric Weddle prior to Sunday’s game against the Raiders took its toll on the Chargers as the team failed to play with any unity. Weddle can be that glue that binds the defense, but this year he just hasn’t looked the same and either has the defense. Weddle is the true captain on defense and he is the one who fires the squad up. With him absent against the Raiders we saw the effort the defense put in. One has to wonder what Weddle’s future is with the Chargers.
Brandon Flowers was to team up with Jason Verrett to form a formidable duo in the Chargers defensive backfield. Both were banged up early, but Verrett has been the more consistent player virtually all season long. Flowers has seemed lost and has been constantly called for pass interference and defensive holding penalties. Flowers has a track record of being a solid cover man so Chargers fans will just have to be patient.
Craig Mager the rookie out of Texas State is looking more and more healthy each week. If the rookie can show anything, he could very easily replace Flowers in the line-up. The Chargers are at a point where they cannot afford to lose. It is now or never for the 2015 season. Time to separate the men from the boys. Flowers needs to step it up. The other teams are focusing their offense to attack him. That’s the nature of the NFL. If an offense can smell a weakness they will go after it. With Mager getting healthy, perhaps that will be the extra motivation to encourage more consistent play out of Brandon Flowers.