The season is fast approaching, and the Chargers are looking to start a new pair of starting safeties for the 20th year in a row. Looking back to 2003 (because I'm too lazy to look any further in history), we have not had two safeties each start 30 games in two consecutive seasons. Terrance Kiel was the most consistent starter we've had, and he was consistently average. By the way, if anyone has a job for Kiel he is still looking for work. Do these safety tandems scare anyone?
And people wonder why we have had such a bad secondary. Poor Quentin Jammer; the guy takes a beating from fans but he's been by far our best defensive back. And the guy has had a bad supporting cast of DBs around him.
So here we are, 2007 season around the corner and early word out of Chargers Park is that Clinton Hart is the leading candidate to start at Strong Safety.
“I'm going to be the guy,” Hart said. “Nothing against any of the other safeties we have, but I believe I've proven myself.”
Rookie Eric Weddle is behind Hart, and Cottrell has said Weddle is not being looked at as a starter right off.
“It's still up for grabs,” Cottrell said. “But Clinton is leading the pack at that position.”
Uhhhh...you're kidding right? Clinton Hart (nothing against the guy) has always looked good in practices. But in game situations, he goes brain dead. I can't count how many opportunities I witnessed Clinton Hart muff when on the field on Sundays. It's never been a physical question with Clinton Hart...he stays in shape and is always healthy (unlike Bhawoh Jue). With Hart its a question of being able to read and react when the game is going full-speed under the bright lights. And he hasn't been able to prove he is capable to be the starter.
Here you have Eric Weddle...obviously the Chargers were extremely high on the guy to give up a handful of picks to go up and get him. At pick number 37, the guy is a borderline first rounder. Start the guy immediately! Throw him in the fire like Jammer, Luis Castillo, Igor Olshansky, Nick Hardwick, and Shane Olivea all went through! Eric starts from day one and we finally have some consistency moving forward with the position. This is something where competition isn't going to help Eric Weddle. He loves the game and is smart enough to pick up the defense. He is a natural playmaker with uncanny instincts. Say to the team, 'Look guys, Eric is our guy and he is going to get a chance to play right away. He is going to get every opportunity to earn the starting job because he is the future.' I don't buy this notion that Clinton Hart deserves the position. He was unable to beat Terrance Kiel for the Strong Safety position, and all of the sudden he finds himself to be the starter because Kiel is no longer here?
“It’s a good challenge to have because both of them are very good football players,” secondary coach Bill Bradley said. “We all know what kind of athlete Clinton is, and Eric comes in here and plays like he’s been in the NFL for two or three years because he’s so smart and has such a handle on things. Competition is always healthy because it makes both of them better. Those guys are going to push each other and really help each other.”
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