The San Diego Chargers 2004 highlight film premiered on the NFL Network on Saturday night. As it…
The Justice Files
Anyway, today's "Afternoon Blitz" show is otherwise dedicated to discussions about the upcoming draft. No matter how seasons go by, I can never get into the analysis and maneuvering that accompanies this time of the year. It might be because I don't really follow the college game.
I think my resistance to the draft is more due to the fact that even if I did watch NCAA football, it wouldn't really help me predict which players were going to turn into good pros. Think about it. Mel Kiper Jr., whose only known function is to study the draft, is no better at picking the future stars than the guy who buys Street and Smith's the day it hits the newsstands.
Two seasons ago, I was assigned to predict the Chargers' best possible selection for askthecommish.com, and I came up with USC's Troy Polamalu. I guess that wouldn't have been a bad choice since we are still looking for a physical safety to fill the void left by Rodney Harrison. Here's hoping Jue's the answer.
Speaking of deficiencies in our secondary, Quentin Jammer has been the subject of many of my rants over his three seasons in San Diego. However, he claims to read sites like these to fire himself up.
Drew Brees said something similar after the heat he took from the press after first Denver game last season, so I won't laugh myself silly—yet.
Coming out of Texas, Jammer was billed as a physical cornerback. He's been as advertised. Unfortunately, it was thought that the Bolts got a steal when they picked him. Thus far, he hasn't proven himself to be very good at staying with his man.
How can I say this, you ask? He's on par with other players at his position around the NFL. Cornerbacks are like relief pitchers. You only remember when they fail, you say. I'm only a fan who hangs on every play. I've never billed myself as anything else. But how many times have you watched Jammer in coverage and wished he'd JUST TURN AROUND FOR THE BALL?
Remember in 2002, when Isaac Bruce caught that touchdown with QJ draped all over him? That play looks pretty prophetic now. Chad Pennington made a great throw to Santana Moss in the playoffs. But could someone other than Jammer batted the ball away, just like the Steelers did the following week?
During Tony Martin's last years in San Diego, I found myself screaming for him to just go down every time he caught the ball. I was that sure he would fumble. Now every time an opponent goes deep, I'm just praying that Jammer isn't the only person in the stadium who doesn't see it coming.
Maybe I'm just jaded because the Bolts haven't anything near a shutdown cornerback in quite a while. Darrien Gordon had a very promising rookie season in '94, but was revealed as a hothead with bad hair on Monday Night against the Traitors the following season. Dwayne Harper proved to be our most reliable corner since Gil Byrd, but he was rarely spectacular (that Oakland game notwithstanding). The '95 season brought Terrance Shaw, king of the pass interference penalty. He was later replaced by DeRon Jenkins, who wasn't even close enough to the receivers to interfere with them. Fakhir Brown looked to be a rising star until he almost drove his car into the Union-Tribune building. At least he's still in the NFL. Tay Cody started strong, but was quickly exposed. The jury's still out on Sammy Davis.
It's no secret that a better pass rush would help our cornerbacks. The '92-'94 Chargers of Bill Arnsparger got to the quarterback with a much greater frequency. We were still subject to some big plays, but not nearly as much as now. But would a steadier pass rush just camouflage the central flaw of this secondary?
I've been real vocal since January that Wade Phillips should have done whatever was necessary to put more pressure on Pennington in the playoffs, especially with this bum shoulder. Then again, from those "Game of the Week" specials I've been watching on the NFL Network, I don't know if Phillips has the ultimate authority on playcalls.
I saw several clips where it seemed that Marty told Cameron whether he wanted to run or pass. Then again, Phillips has a lot more NFL experience than Cameron. Wait a second, blaming Marty? We'll save that for another week.
One last thing: Quentin, if you're reading this, turn around.
Every now and then I get a little bit tired of listening to the sound of my tears. I know it's a little soft to end with a quote from "Total Eclipse of the Heart," but it seemed appropriate. I don't know if Denis Savage will let me curse as I do within THE HALLS OF JUSTICE, www.justiceiscoming.com, so just imagine that I quoted the version of the song that The Dan Band sang at Frank The Tank's wedding in "Old School." Stop by www.justiceiscoming.com starting this weekend for the first installment of my interview with Chargers Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Steeg. Interesting stuff. See you next week.
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