Panic Button: Chargers' pass defense


Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
Problem: The Chargers have been vulnerable to the pass in their first three games. The pass defense cost the Chargers their first two games, against Carolina and Denver. The Chargers lost each game in the final 30 seconds. Both the Panthers and the Broncos scored the winning points through the air. During the Chargers' win over the New York Jets on Monday, the pass defense gave up big plays in the second half.

Time to hit the panic button? No.

Solution: While the Chargers defense had some issues against Brett Favre on Monday night, there were good signs that the pass defense is getting better.

The key for San Diego to improve its pass defense is for it to make big plays. In the first two games, San Diego's defense was giving up more big plays than it made. Without the injured Shawne Merriman, perhaps the most dynamic pass rusher in the NFL, the lack of a pass rush and weak coverage cost San Diego.

But against the Jets, the Chargers made big plays with their pass rush and in coverage. San Diego had three sacks and three interceptions. All six plays were major contributors to the San Diego victory. All of San Diego's sacks came when New York was driving.

It is much easier to play pass defense if there is a pass rush. As long as there is a Chargers' pass rush and cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie and Quentin Jammer can come up with takeaways, there should be fewer opponents' big plays to worry about.