The end of the 2012 season saw the San Diego Chargers make organizational changes from top to bottom. Most notably, Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy were brought in to bring the Chargers back to the playoffs after a 3-year absence under Norv Turner. Lost in the shuffle was the release of both Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason, who had been an integral part of the Chargers’ secondary for the past couple of years. The lack of veteran leadership was evident in all of 2013 for the Bolts.
In 2013, the Chargers’ secondary was ranked 28th in pass defense and 24th in turnovers forced. Problems initially started after Derek Cox, who was signed to a 4-year, $20 million contract at the start of the season, completely fell apart mid-season and forced the Bolts to look for outside options. This allowed for the signings of Richard Marshall and Crezdon Butler, both of whom saw significant time at the corner spot opposite of Shareece Wright when Cox was relegated to the bench. Their struggles were evident in the second round playoff game against the Denver Broncos, where Peyton Manning converted an unlikely 3rd and 17 in the 4th quarter to seal a Broncos victory.
Fast forward to 2014 and things are suddenly looking up for the secondary. Tom Telesco spent the 25th pick in the draft on TCU corner Jason Verrett and Steve Williams, last years 5th round pick, is returning from his season-ending pectoral injury. Initially, Verrett was expected to compete for a starting spot with the returning Richard Marshall. Now, with the addition of Brandon Flowers, the coaching staff can bring the rookie along slowly instead of feeding him to the wolves from the start. Also, given his Pro Bowl pedigree and six years of NFL experience, Brandon Flowers can provide valuable insight that would instantly help those around him.
The Chargers also play in division with a future hall of famer in Peyton Manning and two Pro Bowlers in Alex Smith and Matt Schaub. The Chargers needed to make this signing if they hoped to return to the playoffs in 2014. With Brandon Flowers, John Pagano can afford to play more man coverage and allow the front seven to bring more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. This would significantly help a unit that only had 35 sacks in 2013, which was only good enough for 23rd in the NFL.
While he is far from an All-Pro, Brandon Flowers brings some much needed stability and veteran leadership, which is something that the Chargers have lacked at the corner spot for the last few years.