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Chargers' defense hopes to play tighter in Levi's

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Aug 17 2014 12:29:51 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 17 2014 12:29:51 PM CDT

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Chargers look forward to next week's third preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers in a visit to the new Levi's Stadium. And after being slugged in Seattle, this will be a chance to see if the Chargers' defense is too big for its britches.

While it was just a preseason game, more than a few eyebrows were raised in the aftermath of Friday's 41-14 shellacking in Seattle.

In particular the defense got pushed around, which the team is hoping is more indicative of the powerful Seahawks' attack rather than the Chargers' shortcomings.

When a team -- any team -- scores on five of its six opening drives there is only one thing to think: Thank goodness halftime arrived to stop its lone possession.

It is noted that outside linebacker Jarret Johnson and Dwight Freeney were idle instead of idling. The Chargers play in Seattle in week two of the regular season and maybe did not want to tip their hand.

In that case, well played, coach Mike McCoy in keeping your cards close to your vest.

"Overall not a very good performance by our entire football team," he said.

But that throw-away quotation did not reflect McCoy's feeling that the team did indeed appear wobbly and he took his share of the blame.

"It starts with me as a head coach," he said. "We've got to do a better job of coaching and a better job of playing."

The Chargers return to practice until Monday, giving them a chance to absorb the licking and get busy trying to fix it.

This same Seahawks team is rolling into San Diego on Sept. 15.

"I'm not worried about when they come to our place," safety Eric Weddle said. "We got to worry about Arizona."

The Chargers open against the Cardinals on Sept. 8.

But rather than fretting the Cardinals, or the Seahawks, the attention turns inward as training camp ends.

Before being smacked in Seattle, the Chargers believed the defense was improved off moves by general manager Tom Telesco's offseason.

Suddenly the next meaningless preseason game cannot come soon enough for a defense with busted coverages, bad angles and missed tackles. When Seattle was on offense, it really did seem like it had a 12th man.

Safety Eric Weddle did not sugarcoat the Chargers getting waxed by the Seahawks.

"Even though it's preseason and it doesn't matter, it matters in our eyes," Weddle said. "We shouldn't be happy about the performance that we put out there. It opened up your eyes to the deficiencies that we have and we need to get them fixed."

Quarterback Kellen Clemens was among the Chargers' highlights. Clemens was 14 of 21 for 149 yards and two touchdowns. "He ran the team the way it should be run," McCoy said.

Defensive end Corey Liuget has fought a foot problem this camp, but he is back practicing and playing.

"I have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder and a swagger, too," Liuget said. "It's from getting to the playoffs and getting knocked out. I'm looking forward to making a pretty good run at it this year."

NOTES: LB Manti Te'o is out this week with a sprained foot. ... S Jahleel Addae, who is having a solid camp, tweaked his hamstring in the game and is out this week. ... LB Dwight Freeney did not play in the game but is expected to practice this week. ... RB Ryan Mathews was a healthy scratch from the game. Mathews fumbled going into the end zone in the preseason opener.