If Antonio Cromartie isn't a shutdown corner in this league, then there isn't a single player in the NFL who would better qualify. Not only does Cromartie lead all players with 10 interceptions, but he also leads the league in passes defended with a whopping 27! And like LT, Cromartie isn't done yet. There are two more games left and with the pace Cromartie has been going at, he could finish up with 14 interceptions, the single season record.
Shaun Phillips has stepped up real big this year, both as a player and as a leader in the locker room. Phillips has been particularly impressive in his unwaivering confidence in his team. There is no question he is a Pro Bowl caliber player, but unfortunately its not likely he'll be voted onto the AFC team because he doesn't lead the league in any category among linebackers. But there is no question that the season he is having is well recognized by those who follow the team closely and as far as rush linebackers are concerned, Phillips stacks up with the best of them.
Continuing the trend of discussing impressive players, I'd be remiss not to mention Chris Chambers. Is there a tougher receiver on the team? Week in and week out, I'm blown away by some of the catches and hits this guy makes and takes. Chambers is always good for a coach's challenge with his occasionally controversial "catches" but the fact of the matter is Chambers has emerged as a reliable and consistent target for Philip Rivers. There is no doubt in my mind that the Chargers would have had a harder time trying to win their division without Chambers on the team. I'm expecting Chris Chambers to be a difference maker for this time come playoff time.
Some other guys that deserve a shout-out are Igor Olshasnky (so far has been the team's best defensive lineman), Jeromy Clary (getting better and better each with as the starting right tackle), Eric Weddle (having the best season among Charger rookies), and Brandon Siler (wrecking ball on special teams and could end up being a huge steal as a seventh rounder).
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