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Pair of Young CBs Looking to Make an Impression
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Greg Ducre dropped back in coverage late Tuesday, diagnosed the play and confidently jumped the route for an impressive interception.
One play later, Richard Crawford had tight coverage on his man when he stepped up and punched it loose before the receiver could secure it.
On the very next play, Crawford was in position to break up a long pass with a crushing blow had it been live game action, but correctly pulled up as to not hit his teammate.
Jason Verrett and Brandon Flowers are most talked about when it comes to the Chargers cornerbacks, but Ducre and Crawford are two of a number of young CBs looking to make their mark for the Bolts.
What’s remarkable about this pair in particular is how intertwined their paths were in 2014.
Crawford began his season on the Washington Redskins after returning from a devastating knee injury, yet was waived on Oct. 7. One day later, Washington signed Ducre off the Bolts’ practice squad to their active roster. Three weeks later, San Diego signed Crawford to their 53-man roster before moving him to the practice squad in late November. Meanwhile, after playing in five games in DC, the Redskins waived Ducre in mid-December. Sure enough, San Diego brought him back, first to the practice squad before promoting him just four days later.
Now, while neither corner played a regular season snap for the Chargers, they are eager to prove they can make an impact together in 2015.
“I feel a lot better than last year,” Ducre noted. “I’ve learned the system and our scheme. I am going out there, playing fast, and learning from other guys. My position comes with experience. You aren’t going to be able to go out there and have a great game every game (just on talent). I learned it comes with confidence and preparing.”
In fact, Ducre said his impressive interception on Tuesday is partly due to the experience he gained last year.
“It all comes from experience. Just playing fast, seeing the ball and going after it. You play fast and jump it. It gives you confidence. Last year was pretty stressful to pack up, move my stuff and go over there, and then come back. But I don’t regret anything that happened last year. I am very blessed to be in the situation I am in now. This defense lets you play lots of man. I love man. Everything just flows, the whole defense just flows."
Meanwhile, Oceanside native Crawford feels light years ahead of where he was last season as he’s recovered from a severe knee injury.
“This is real helpful for me because I couldn’t do OTA’s last year because I was still coming back from destroying everything in my knee. It’s the first time I’ve been able to do everything in a long time. So this is a positive thing that I can play out there healthy. I’m just not thinking about the injury anymore. I have my speed back and my cutting. When you don’t have an ACL, LCL and a posterior lateral corner, and it is all being repaired, it is tough to do all the cutting and planting you have to do.”
Like Ducre, Crawford says Defensive Coordinator John Pagano’s scheme fits him perfectly.
“It fits me real well. He allows me to press and play off. He really plays everything. I am a very mental player, so it helps me a lot because I can scheme myself into making plays.” Read