CB Derek Cox, secondary jobs up for grabs

SAN DIEGO -- With cornerback Derek Cox benched three of the past four weeks, San Diego coach Mike McCoy said there will be an open competition in the secondary at practice this week.

Asked if Cox would return to his starting role, McCoy indicated that jobs would be up for grabs in the defensive backfield. McCoy would not say what players will be part of the audition. Cox and Shareece Wright started at cornerback last week for the Chargers, while Eric Weddle and Marcus Gilchrist started at the safety positions.

Johnny Patrick, Richard Marshall and Crezdon Butler are listed as reserve cornerbacks on San Diego's roster. Darrell Stuckey, Brandon Taylor and Jahleel Addae are listed as reserves at safety.

Patrick has started two games this season and has one interception on the year, while Marshall has started one game.

San Diego's secondary has just four interceptions on the year. The Chargers have allowed 276 passing yards a contest, which is 27th in the NFL.

“We're going to let the guys compete this week, and let them go,” McCoy said. “We're going to let the DBs compete this week, and come this week we'll find out what we think is the best combination for us, like any position on our football team.”

San Diego's secondary also was called for five penalties against Kansas City, including four pass interference calls and one defensive holding.

McCoy said the rash of defensive penalties is part of his young secondary figuring out how to play aggressively in pass coverage.

“If the ball is in the air, that's our ball,” McCoy said. "And those things are going to happen. And they have to understand that you have to attack it the right way. When you're going for a ball, you can't just go through a guy. Or when you're trying to cover a slant, you can't grab a guy's back. We've got to prefect the technique, or do that a little better.”

McCoy said that all the players injured against Kansas City have a chance to play at home versus Cincinnati on Sunday. They include running back Ryan Mathews (hamstring), offensive lineman D.J. Fluker (knee), receiver Eddie Royal (chest), defensive back Darrell Stuckey (concussion) and defensive lineman Corey Liuget (leg).

“So far, so good on everybody,” McCoy said. “Everything came out OK, as what I know today. And we'll give you an update on Wednesday.”

McCoy also said that outside linebacker Jarret Johnson and left tackle King Dunlap are working their way back to the practice field. Johnson missed the Kansas City game after having a surgery on his hand last week, and Dunlap missed two weeks with a neck issue. McCoy said Johnson will be day-to-day.