Chargers Focused on Being Thieves

San Diego secondary forcing more turnovers in the preseason

In 2015 the Chargers defense only had 11 interceptions, one of the lowest totals in the NFL. They only picked off more than one pass in a game twice … the season opener against Detroit and the season finale against Denver.

So seeing the Bolts make two picks in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Cardinals, one by Brandon Flowers and another by Jahleel Addae, was more than a little bit unexpected.

“Two BIG turnovers,” said linebacker Manti Te’o. “Flo returning his for a touchdown, Jahleel almost returning his for a touchdown, you just keep building and building and building that momentum. I don’t think it can get any better than that.”

Knowing it’s a good idea to get Philip Rivers the ball as often as possible the Chargers have emphasized forcing turnovers during the entire off-season.

“We started that in OTA’s (Organized Team Activities),” said cornerback Jason Verrett, who nearly added a third interception against Arizona on a diving pass defense. “We had maybe 20 interceptions in OTA’s and in to training camp. It just shows how we want to hunt. Everyone wants to get that play. The chemistry we have going on, everyone wants to make plays.”

Chemistry and trust are words you hear a lot from the Chargers secondary these days. Those are two words you did not hear very much in 2015.

“It stems back from Spring Ball,” says Addae. “We’ve been making plays on the ball from spring, having a swagger, having a different attitude.”

A rededicated Flowers, coming off the worst season of his career, and the addition of cornerback Casey Hayward from Green Bay have helped the San Diego secondary come together.

“I started early. It only takes one play,” said Hayward. “One person makes a play on the ball and it just becomes contagious. Flo made a play early, I made a play early, Jason made a play early, Jahleel made a play early, everybody made a play early. Everybody was just flying around. You can tell we’re enjoying each other and we’re happy for each other.”

That was evident on Addae’s interception return. Just look at the way the guys in the secondary were blocking for their safety, trying to escort him to the end zone.

“You could just see how close we are when I watch the film,” said Addae. “You see everyone straining, trying, straining to make that extra block for me. It’s a brotherhood out there and you can tell we’re really gelling.”

“We just come out and trust each other on the field, man, the sky is the limit for this defense,” said Flowers. “We’ve just got to keep building off it. We can’t say we had a great game and we’ve arrived. We’ve just got to keep building because there’s a lot of stuff we can get better on.”

On Sunday the Chargers play the Vikings in the first football game at the brand new U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The Bolts secondary would like to contribute the facility’s first interception. Or two.

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