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Recapping 2013: The Defensive Backs

Posted Feb 6, 2014

A complete breakdown of the defensive backs from the 2013 season.

The Chargers secondary is led by one of the top safeties in the game, Eric Weddle, whose strong season earned him the second Pro Bowl berth of his career.  In 2013, Weddle led the entire team with 114 tackles and tied for the lead in interceptions with two.  He also had 10 passes defensed, five tackles for loss, one sack, four quarterback hits, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.  Defensive Coordinator John Pagano used Weddle in a wide variety of ways.  Some plays would feature Weddle up in the box where he was an excellent blitzer and run stuffer, while on others he’d be more of a traditional safety free to roam in the defensive backfield.  Perhaps Weddle’s signature play, however, came on special teams when he audibled into a fake punt in overtime in Week 17 with the playoffs on the line.  Taking a direct snap, he bullied his way forward for just enough yards for the first down.  That play came on the heels of an incredibly athletic interception the week prior against the Oakland Raiders in which Weddle jumped high, reached back to bat the ball back to himself which he then caught while diving forward.

Photo Gallery: The Best of the Defensive Backs | More Photos

Joining Weddle as a starting safety was Marcus Gilchrist, who tied for the team lead with two interceptions as well.  In his third season, Gilchrist moved to the safety position after playing primarily cornerback for his first two seasons.  In addition to his pair of picks, he also had 84 tackles, four passes defensed, three tackles for loss and one sack.  Late in the season, Gilchrist moved to the nickel corner position where he excelled in the slot.  In his first game there in Week 15 against the Broncos, he had a key third down sack of Peyton Manning while also batting a ball down at the line of scrimmage.

Shareece Wright was drafted the same year as Gilchrist, and 2013 marked his first year as a starter.  While he battled a hamstring injury earlier in the year which forced him to miss three games, he emerged as a shutdown corner for stretches of the season.  That was never more evident than in victories over the highflying New York Giants, in which he recorded his first career interception, and the Denver Broncos offenses over a five day stretch in December.   Overall, Wright had 57 tackles and a team-high 13 passes defensed in the regular season.  In the playoffs, he intercepted Andy Dalton  in the third quarter to help solidify a momentum-filled 15 minute span to secure the victory.

Richard Marshall and Derek Cox split time starting opposite Wright.  Marshall recorded 61 tackles and six passes defensed while Cox had 39 tackles and six passes broken up.  Cox also recorded the game-sealing interception in a Week 6 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Johnny Patrick manned the slot for the majority of 2013 before injuries forced him to be put on season-ending IR.  The first player ever acquired by General Manager Tom Telesco when he was claimed off waivers from New Orleans last February, Patrick notched 36 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three tackles for loss, four QB hits and two passes defensed.  His interception of Ryan Tannehill in Week 11 was the first of his career. 

Crezdon Butler also suited up at cornerback for the Bolts, finishing the year with three tackles.  His signature moment came against the Dallas Cowboys when he forced a fumble at the goal line to secure the win in Week 4. 

Perhaps no player made greater strides in 2013 than Jahleel Addae.  An undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan, the hard-hitting safety quickly endeared himself to the fan-base with his bone-rattling hits.  Addae’s playing time drastically increased over the course of the season, and when it was all said and done he had 32 tackles, two passes defensed, one sack and one tackle for loss.  He had a pair of big plays in the postseason consisting of a fumble recovery in the Wild Card win over the Bengals followed by a forced fumble a week later in Denver.

Darrell Stuckey is a special teams ace, but he too saw his playing time increase on the defensive side of the ball down the stretch.    Overall he finished with nine tackles and one pass defensed.  His biggest play came in the Divisional Round loss to the Broncos in the playoffs when he popped what looked like a touchdown catch loose into the arms of Donald Butler for a pivotal interception.

Brandon Taylor was also on the Charges roster but was inactive each game this season while Marcus Cromartie was signed off the practice squad prior to Week 16.

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