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SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Linebacker Shaun Phillips #95 of the San Diego Chargers comes up with the ball after recovering a fumble for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium on November 1, 2012 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 31-13. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
The Chargers’ are 4-5. They play arguably the most important game of the season this Sunday against Denver. This could be the hinge of their season.
There are many things the Bolts have had to adjust throughout the last nine games to try and find success.
One thing they’re hoping won’t change, however, is the health of their defense.
Other than a few minor bumps and bruises San Diego’s defense has managed to keep their core group on the field for almost every game.
Defensive coach John Pagano attributes some of that health to the players taking care of themselves outside of practice.
“It is something through playing with the right techniques and fundamentals,” said Pagano. “I’ve seen more guys throughout my years in the league where a false step or the wrong leverage gets them in a position that their body can’t handle. Having proper techniques is going to keep you healthy.”
He also says some of it has to do with learning to work through the typical aches and soreness that comes from playing a 16-game physical season.
“There is not a single guy playing that doesn’t have something that is not aching,” Pagano said. “These guys that play into their eighth, ninth and tenth years, even the guys at four and five years, they are just learning how to play those 16 games.”
“That is the most important thing,” Pagano said. “That is how those guys become even better players. The more you play the better you’re going to be. It is one of things where the guys that are on the roller coaster that are in and out, never get the consistency in their play.”
Only three players on the active defensive roster for the Bolts have broken into their 30s.
Head coach Norv Turner attributes some of their health to the resilience of youth.
“We’re young,” Turner said. “It is an athletic group and sometimes it is good fortune.”