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News » San Diego Chargers Inside Slant 2009-03-06


San Diego Chargers Inside Slant 2009-03-06


San Diego Chargers Inside Slant 2009-03-06
The competition is on in the Chargers' secondary.


Although it won't include a familiar face in Drayton Florence.

The Chargers considered signing Florence, who left San Diego last year for Jacksonville as a free agent, to add depth to the defense's glaring weakness.

But Florence, who was cut by the Jaguars, instead headed for the Buffalo Bills.

General manager A. J. Smith is looking for ways to improve what was among the NFL's worst pass defenses last season. That area of the defense will get help when pass-rusher Shawne Merriman returns, but Smith is looking for better play out of his cornerbacks.

Quentin Jammer, one corner, had another solid season. But the same can't be said for Antonio Cromartie.

Cromartie made quite a splash in 2007 when leading the league with a franchise-best 10 interceptions and reaching the Pro Bowl.

Going into the 2008 season, he crowed about a goal of 15 interceptions to set the NFL record. Instead, he got two interceptions and was repeatedly exposed for being out of position and showing a reluctance to hit.

Cromartie said he played most the season with a fractured hip, although the team never said that. What is broken is the Chargers' undying faith in Cromartie.

Smith mentioned quite a few players recently who need to step up their game - go ahead and put the athletic Cromartie at the top of that list.

Some thought if the Chargers could land Florence for a return stint in San Diego, that Cromartie would be traded. The thinking was Antoine Cason, who showed well last year in his rookie season as the nickel back, could assume Cromartie's starting role. Florence, like he did in the latter stages of his days in San Diego, would be the third cornerback on passing downs.

But Florence passed on the Chargers and Smith has said Cromartie will not be moved.

That said, Cromartie has to move the needle in regard to how the Chargers feel about him. At one time the team was considering a long-term deal for the next-great-cornerback.

But after a disappointing 2008, it is almost like Cromartie is a rookie again and needs to prove that he is more than a freak - athletically - and can actually play football as well.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 6, 2009

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Carlos Polk Name: Carlos Polk
#52
Position: LB
Age: 31
Experience: 8 years
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