By Dave Thomas
He’s not the biggest guy on the field. One look at his current hairstyle and beard and you may note he’s not the prettiest one either.
That said San Diego Charger free safety Eric Weddle is one heck of a football player. For the Chargers and their fans, they sure are happy to have him on their side.
The Pro Bowl free safety continues to roam the secondary for a team that currently sits atop the AFC West at 5-1, preparing for this Sunday’s home encounter with the rival Kansas City Chiefs.
Leadership And Talent At Free Safety Position
The University of Utah product has been a problem for opposing offenses since coming into the league back in 2007 (2nd round draft pick of the Chargers). While he may not be the fastest or toughest guy on the field at any given time, he plays with a tenacity that is matched by few others around the NFL.
After six games this season, Weddle is second on the team in total tackles (34) behind linebacker Donald Butler’s team-leading 36. Weddle also has one interception on the season to his credit.
Another facet of the game that makes Weddle special is his ability to stay healthy. In five seasons he has played in all 16 games for the Chargers, missing only three games in the 2009 campaign and one in 2007. For a man who is not afraid to deal out some hard hits on opposing receivers and running backs, that is quite remarkable.
Weddle’s best season to date by the numbers was the 2008 campaign, a season in which he accounted for 127 total tackles, with a solid 2013 season to back that up when he finished with 115 total stops. His best interception numbers came in 2011 when he picked off seven passes.
True Tests Come Over Next Two Games
While the Chargers currently hold the top spot in the division, their true tests come between now and the end of next week.
A home game with a Kansas City squad Sunday that is capable of beating anyone in the league on any Sunday, then a trip five days later (Thursday night) to the Mile High City and a meeting with the Denver Broncos. If the Chargers can exit those two games unscathed, then people around the league and their fans for that matter might truly think this team has what it takes to get to Glendale, Arizona Feb. 1 for the 49th edition of the Super Bowl.
For Eric Weddle and the San Diego Chargers, the next week will prove interesting to say the least.
Given his leadership and will to win on the defensive side of the ball, Charger fans could very be smiling when all is said and done a little over a week from now.
For more Chargers news and updates, visit Chargers Central.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.