January 2017 was a massive shock for me. The Chargers announced in the most impersonal manner that they were moving to Los Angeles. I wrote an article the week prior saying how they were going to stay in San Diego for x, y, and z reasons. This is the reason I chose to switch teams, even though both Los Angeles and San Diego are only five to six hours away from me.
The way the move was announced, I was hurt by it. There are no two ways around it. The immaturity of just making a social media post to say goodbye to a city you have resided for over 50 years is overbearing. I was a Chargers fan for around 15 years, ever since I was a young boy and I noticed a Chargers koozie in the convenience store across the street from Miguel’s Mexican restaurant near Shelter Island. It’s hard following a team that did not even have the class to issue a proper goodbye in person and decided to just hide behind a computer screen.
My saying goodbye has nothing to do with the players or fans, but the front office and the men and women in corporate. The players of a sports team are only on the front end. If someone really wants to know how a team treats their fans, look at their PR department.
So where do I go from here? Should I go full Lebron James and message teams to see who will take me? No thanks. I have decided that I need to do what is best for me and go to a franchise that respects and even honors it’s fans rather than just seeing them as dollar signs.
That is why I have decided to become an Arizona Cardinals fan.
It will be difficult the first few years to garner the love that I had for the San Diego Chargers but I’ll have to muddle through it.
The Chargers defeated the Lions in Week 1 by a score of 33-28. The Chargers defense held the “Gold-atron” (Golden Tate/Calvin Johnson aka “Megatron”) combination to less than 100 combined receiving yards. That is very tough to do. That shows this secondary is very good and will be very good moving forward.
The secondary consisting of Brandon Flowers, Jason Verrett, Eric Weddle, Jahleel Addae/Jimmy Wilson combination, looks to be one of the best that the Chargers have had in quite some time. But there is one player in that secondary who really stands out to me.
His name is Jason Verrett.
Verrett, the 2014 first-round draft pick out of Texas Christian (TCU), is getting better and better by the week. His assignment in Week 1 was shadowing Golden Tate, in which Tate went four catches on eight targets for 24 yards. Tate’s lowest totals last season, in terms of catches, targets and receiving yards, was Week 10 versus an elite secondary in Arizona. He finished with only two catches on two targets for 41 yards. On Sunday, he averaged a meager six yards per reception. In 2014, he averaged 13.4 yards per reception. In 2013, he averaged 14.0 yards per reception. In 2012, he averaged 15.3 yards per reception. I’m not going to go back any further, because I think you get the point. Tate is a very good runner with the ball in his hands and last season he was 3rd in the entire league with 691 yards after catch.
There was one play I want to focus on. In the second half of the game against Detroit, the Lions ran a wide receiver bubble in where they had Tate screened and with two blockers in front. Verrett weaved his way around the first blocker and made a fantastic solo, open-field tackle. The stop forced the Lions to punt.
These are the type of plays that only a few players in the league make on a guy of Tate’s caliber.
Jason Verrett is special. I do think if he stays healthy, he has all the tools and talent to become an elite, shutdown cornerback. His man-coverage ability is insane for his NFL experience. His instincts, which he was lauded for coming out of college, couldn’t be better and his open-field tackling might be the best on the team. Look for this guy to take his game to the next level this season, and prove to the NFL world that when they talk about top corners in the league, to not forget about No. 22, Jason Verrett.