A Look At San Diego’s Defense

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 7, 2011 – 8:59 am

The San Diego Chargers have an explosive offense that is led by one of the NFL’s best QBs and features playmakers up and down the depth chart. They also have a solid offensive line. But with the Vikings set to face the Chargers in the season opener this Sunday, we also can’t forget about their defense.

Because their offense is high profile and high scoring, San Diego’s defense is often overlooked. But they are more than worthy of attention. In fact, San Diego’s defense ranked #1 in the NFL last year in yards allowed, including #1 against the pass and #4 against the run. Only 1 team – the Pittsburgh Steelers – registered more sacks than San Diego’s 47 last year and only 3 teams saw QBs generate a worse passer rating against them.

The Chargers have a new Defensive Coordinator in Greg Manusky. He’s actually not entirely new because he was the team’s LBs coach from 2002-06 before leaving to become San Francisco’s Defensive Coordinator from 2007-10. He’s now back with the Chargers and he’ll continue to run the team’s 3-4 defensive scheme, but there will likely be changes within the scheme that are unique to Manusky’s style and preferences. The players’ ability to adjust to those changes and execute Manusky’s plan will dictate whether or not San Diego’s defense in 2011 can be as good as it was in 2010.

In 2006 the Chargers led the NFL in sacks with 61 and Manusky’s LB group was responsible for 42.5 of those sacks. This year it looks as if the Chargers will feature the following four LBs as starters: Takeo Spikes and Donald Butler on the inside and Shaun Phillips and Travis LaBoy on the outside. San Diego has pretty good depth at the position as well, with Stephen Cooper a reserve on the inside and Antwan Barnes, Na’il Diggs, Larry English and youngster Darryl Gamble on the outside. Along the defensive line, DE Luis Castillo is a game-changer and his fellow starting DE – Corey Liuget – is a rookie who looks to have a promising season ahead.

Elsewhere on the defense, you’ll recognize the names of starting CBs Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer and then starting safeties Bob Sanders and Eric Weddle. Of this group, Sanders is the new face. He was a 2-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler with the Indianapolis Colts from 2004-10, and he would’ve garnered many more of those accolades had injuries not plagued him.

The Chargers defense will be interesting to watch this week and the rest of this season. They’re talented and have played well in recent seasons, but they also feature five new starters and a new coordinator. From my viewpoint, the Chargers are a big, physical defense that is stout against the run. They have big CBs and their front seven is formidable.

The question for this Sunday’s matchup between the Vikings offense and San Diego’s defense is whether or not the Vikings can establish the run. If Adrian Peterson and the offensive line can get it going, the Vikings will be able to move the ball on the ground and mix in the play-action pass with 13-year veteran QB Donovan McNabb calling the shots. This is the equation the Vikings need to beat San Diego because it’ll keep San Diego’s explosive offense off the field.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 29 Comments »

29 Responses to “A Look At San Diego’s Defense”

  1. By Frederick Jones on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    The Vikings need to improve to make the Super Bowl::::::

    Quarterback: Adding C. Ponder, and Donovan McNabb to holdover Joe Webb is an improvement for the short-term, and the long-term.

    Running Back: No improvement. This is a strong area for the team.
    We will have to improve with the same personnel as last year.

    Tight End: This may be the most improved area with the addition of Kyle Rudolph. But is it deep enough for a double-tight end formation?

    Offensive Line: The Vikings added Fusco, Love, and Johnson.
    Is more needed here? Time willl tell. This unit has a lot to prove, but did show strong run blocking against pre-season opponents.

    Wide Receivers: No improvement. Like Running Back, this may already be a strong area.

    Defensive Line: no improvement yet. There are some promising young defensive linemen like Awosom who is AWESOME.

    Linebackers: No improvement. Again there is some youth here so maybe it’s not a concern.

    Defensive Halfbacks: No improvements UNLESS you can develop Marcus Sherels into a star.

    Special Teams: Let’s see, Longwell, Kluwe, and Cullen whats-is-his-name.
    Nothing’s changed here. No improvement. Perhaps some of the coverage units can improve because of their youth.

    9-7 or 10-6, but with improvements from within and a TEAM attitude, anything is possible !

  2. By Daniel on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    this will be a great look at what our below average secondary does. I like ced-griffen, I like wilfield(as a saftey) I kind of like Abdullah. That said, IF we give up a million passing yards, then We have got to boost our safties with a good vet. There are two good vets left if free agentcy worth a darn. 1st one is ken Hamlin. Ken was a force at Dallas. I thought he was a very tough saftey for them. The other is michael Lewis. Lewis is a great Saftey. He was good at philly and good for san fran till injuries slowed him. I personally like Hamlin. I think IF we have a bad showing with our secondary, Something must be done! Good luck vikes! hope AD wipes up the floor with you again!

  3. By NovaScotiaVike on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Everybody should take a moment to think about the Russian hockey team that died in a tragic plane crash this morning. Included in this disaster was Pavol Demitra, a former Minnesota Wild player. To me it is amazing, considering all the plane flights these athletes take, that these occurences are not more common.

  4. By NovaScotiaVike on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply


  5. By DRS on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    The following is from

    According to reports in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, opinion polls show “widespread opposition to using taxpayer money on a new stadium.” If this report is true (and I’m always suspicious when polls don’t state their sample size and statistical margin of error), then it’s possible that making the .5% Ramsey County sales tax increase subject to a county-wide voter referendum could not only kill the team’s hopes for an Arden Hills, but could also end Minnesota’s 50 years of having an NFL franchise.

  6. By DRS on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    After reading this, I am starting to think this is the last year for the Minnesota Vikings, so I p-r-a-y for a SB win this year, while they are the Minnesota Vikings.

  7. By Rocksalt on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    This is indeed a tragedy……
    DRS I , too am concerned about the future of the Vikes in MN……what a shame if folks in state simply adopt the “No new taxes and no corporate welfare” mantra that is so fashionable amongst the teabaggers…….
    Oddd especially considering that repubs are often in favor of corporate and industry friendly tax breaks, while putting the burden on the lower and middle class……

  8. By ScotishVike on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Good post, I saw that the starting left tackle for San Diego is coming off of knee surgery so Jared Allen will be a big test on his knee come week 1. I also saw more info on that posted more Chargers news,

  9. By Mike Wobschall on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    ScotishVike – I actually have an entry planned to talk about Jared’s matchup this week. Stay tuned.

  10. By Amish Viking on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    I live in Pa. and can’t get most games on TV. Anyone know of website I can watch the games live?

  11. By ozzinator on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Leave it to the lib Rocksalt to throw his left wing politics into the mix, with his tax info all wrong!
    I have been a huge Vikes fan for a long time and also know that a tax funded stadium is fundamentally wrong, at least state wide.

  12. By Parody on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    ozzinator – What’s worse, a tax funded stadium, or no stadium and consequently no NFL team in MN? You can’t change reality to agree with your fundamentals. There will always be tax paying cities willing to fund a stadium for our team if we are not. So I’m voting to do everything it takes to get a stadium built in MN.

  13. By Stoney on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Rocksalt, your a window licker!

  14. By NovaScotiaVike on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Amish Viking …….www slipstreamtv

  15. By NovaScotiaVike on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Amish Viking…..0r firstrowsports.

  16. By Amish Viking on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Rock and Nova,
    Thanks so much……

  17. By NovaScotiaVike on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    No problem A.V., a lot of my friends use these sites.

  18. By CA Norwegian on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Remember we had trouble getting it going in 09… Cleveland? I say this defense is much better than Cleveland, but McNabb is more a team player… He showed up to camp and will move the chains. At least we will get points or have the other guys backed up here and there. AP will catch for some 1st downs. The dump off will be happening, if holes are not.

  19. By Viking Joe on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    10-6 is highly possible, all NFL teams have some so-called holes, no team is perfect !!

  20. By Rocksalt on Sep 8, 2011 | Reply

    explain how repugnantcants agendas
    1. do not encourage corporate tax breaks
    2. do not shift the burden onto the middle class

    answer: you cannot, lest you lie…..
    so take your teabag loony ideas and go smoke them somewhere else…

  21. By Thai on Sep 8, 2011 | Reply

    I think the Vikings should move to LA. Don’t get me wrong I love the Vikings but I think they deserve more than what they are getting in Minnesota. I wish they had a new stadium and the support they need but they don’t and right now they are one of the least marketable teams right now. They have one of the lowest worths in the NFL and why? The packers and cowboys have the support of their cities and the Vikings play home games in Detroit and college stadiums. But why would high price talent want to play for a team where their own city doesn’t back them. I may get flammed but like I said I love them but they deserve more.

  22. By ozzinator on Sep 8, 2011 | Reply

    Conservative Republicans encourage tax breaks for everybody, period.
    Tax burdens on the middle class are the result of liberal democrooks tax and spend policies.
    You can’t admit that because the truth shines the light on your looney left wing ideology.
    So take your agenda somewhere else.

  23. By GM on Sep 8, 2011 | Reply

    I’ll ‘splain it to ya.
    1.Tea Party Conservatives encourage a tax friendly environment that business will thrive in. Remember, when the left says “corporate tax breaks”, it doesn’t always mean tax breaks. It means the corporations are not taxed enough in their opinion. The left is for big government and big government needs big money. The government does not generate wealth, they confiscate it.

    2. Pot calling the kettle black.

    As for the stadium. Like Ozz, I am not for a tax funded stadium. However, from my understanding, the funding for the stadium is already in place. The taxes would be to improve the roads around the vicinity of the stadium. This is absolutely a government responsibility. In my opinion, they should not raise taxes to get it done, they should cut spending until they can afford to fix their roads.

    Does anyone know how much money a corporation generally pitches in to get their name on the stadium? Minnesota has some fine, large corporations. I would think a corporate sponsor could help fill the gap. Land O’Lakes Stadium has a nice ring to it.

  24. By ozzinator on Sep 8, 2011 | Reply

    Right on GM!

  25. By Derek on Sep 8, 2011 | Reply

    The key to the Vikings winning this game is to get the D-Line pressuring Rivers, knocking him down all game long. If we can get good pressure with just the front 4, and not have to blitz linebackers we have a good shot to win! And Peterson has to run for a nice amount of yards, like maybe 297. LOL! 150 yards would be nice to see Sunday! Go Vikes!

  26. By VikeFan on Sep 8, 2011 | Reply

    @ozz and GM, nice thoughts, this is real world though. Without, the tax dollars, the stadium will not be built. Cutting spending, only hurts the public. So, if Ramsey county wants the Stadium (growth, income) all that comes with it. They have to pay for it. As for the state. Well, how does this sound. Any tax dollars, of mine, that is being used for the Wild, Wolves, Twins or any other. I want that going to the Vikings. They can leave. Sounds fair dont it?

  27. By SD FAN on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    SD will be too much for the Vikes. Examples: Rivers, Gates, Jackson, Floyd, Scifres, Kaeding, #1 Ranked offense. #1 Ranked Defense.
    Bottom line…this team has soooooooo much continuity and experience playing this game at a very high level…that your team (with the exception of A.P and Mc Nab) is just not capable to overcome the cohesion and precision SD posseses. Looking forward to a competitive game though….

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