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Evaluating the Safeties with Defensive Backs Coach Ron Milus

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be checking in with the Chargers’ position coaches and coordinators to get the inside scoop. We continue with Defensive Backs Coach Ron Milus.

Chargers.com: We talked about the cornerbacks yesterday.  Let’s look at the safeties.  The big news obviously is Eric Weddle will not be lining up back there in 2016.  What will be the biggest adjustment with him now in Baltimore?

Milus: The biggest thing overall is our guys are going to have to make the calls. It’s not going to be coming out of Eric’s mouth.  We have to make sure our guys step up to the table, and I think our guys are doing that.  I’m sure you see it when you are out on the field, but Dwight (Lowery) and Jahleel (Addae) are doing a good job of it.  I think those two guys are working well together and in their communication. They are both quarterbacks of the secondary.  They are capable, and they have a lot of ability.

Chargers.com: What about Dwight Lowery made him a coveted free agent acquisition?

Milus: Dwight showed on tape he is very capable of covering quality tight ends in this league.  That is part of the reason why I was so excited to get him.  He has fit in very well, and our players enjoy him.  He’s able to do some of the things that Eric did. He can cover the tight end and he can play the deep pass.  Dwight typically gets three to four interceptions a year, so he has some ball production.  He’s a proven commodity in the league. We needed that. He’s a true pro.

Chargers.com: How pleased are you with Jahleel Addae’s development entering his fourth year, and what does he need to do to take that next step?

Milus: The ball production is the biggest thing he has to improve on, but we really like him.  To me, this dude is self-made. He came in as a guy who was undrafted. To see where he is now, it’s not unbelievable but (only) because of how hard he works.  I see it.  If he can get some ball production with the way he plays the game – the aggression, the attitude – then his future is bright.

Chargers.com: What are your thoughts on Dexter McCoil?

Milus: That’s an interesting one right there.  Dexter is a guy that gives us a different body type than what we’ve been accustomed to.  Bigger. Longer. I see him possibly being a potential dime linebacker in sub defenses.  But he has shown the ability as a safety to have ball production.  I didn’t realize he had 18 interceptions in college, so there is ball production with him.  I’m excited to see if that ball production translates in the preseason games.

Chargers.com: Similar to Addae, Adrian Phillips is another one of those self-made men, although he has bounced back and forth between practice squad and active roster.  What does he need to do in order to stick on the 53-man roster all year long?

Milus: He went under the radar coming out of college, and really bought into what we are trying to do.  He is putting his stamp onto our defense.  I couldn’t be prouder of a guy than I am of Adrian.  I don’t know if there is a harder working guy than him.  He gets in very early and stays late, and he’s putting in the extra time to make sure he makes (the active roster).  Adrian is ready to make that move where it is no longer up and down.  He has a great attitude, and I think he’s going to be in this league for a while.

Chargers.com: People think of Darrell Stuckey primarily as a special teams guy, but what does he add at safety?

Milus: Stuckey is Stuckey.  He is going to give us whatever he’s got on game week, meaning I may tell him I need him to be a dime backer and a blitzer.  This week I need you to cover the tight end.  Whatever we ask him to do, he will try to master it for the week.  Then we move him to a different spot and he tries to master that fully.  And obviously what he does on special teams is unmatched around the league.

Chargers.com: Finally, what do we have in undrafted free agent Adrian McDonald?

Milus: I have to give the scouts credit for Adrian.  He’s a guy who has proven ball production.  He had 17 picks coming out of Houston, and that is something as a team we’ve got to improve upon.  When he didn’t get drafted, Tom and his staff did a good job pinpointing a guy who can possibly help there.  He’s also very, very smart.  We kid around here that Adrian McDonald can be Adrian Phillips 2.0 because they are very similar.

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