SAN DIEGO — Danny Walters will be the first to admit that he's too relaxed on the field. So relaxed, in fact, that it almost appears he couldn't care less about what is happening around him.
"I've always had a lackadaisical attitude, like I'm nonchalant, like I don't care," said the Charger defensive back. "I really do care, but being lackadaisical is what makes me relax."
Defensive coordinator Ron Lynn has noticed Walters' relaxed attitude as well.
"I would like to see him be more productive and more efficient," Lynn said. "He hasn't, in my opinion, played the way we think he is capable of playing. But he's been OK."
This has not been a great season for Walters, on or off the field.
He agreed to enter a drug education program in November while facing charges of cocaine possession and driving under the influence.
On the field, he has watched too many opponents catching passes around him.
"The passes caught on him, he has been in good shape, but the (receiver) has made the play," Lynn said. "They get the ball, good throw, good catch, the whole bit. But that's his job not to let the guy make the catch and, unfortunately, he has been the victim of those.
"He hasn't made the plays. . . . We haven't made the plays as a defense."
Three weeks ago, Lynn moved the four-year starter to nickel back, where he would play primarily on third down and passing situations. Elvis Patterson replaced Walters in the starting lineup.
Lynn said he thinks the change has helped ease some of the pressure for Walters, but also created new anxiety.
"I don't know any more of a pressure-filled situation than third down," Lynn said. "So there is a different kind of pressure. Rather than starting every play and playing anywhere from 60 to 80 plays, each play he plays . . . becomes as important as the others he played before (as a starter)."
And it was the Denver Broncos' success on third downs that helped sink the Chargers on Sunday, 31-17. Denver gained first downs on 12 of 15 third-down situations.
"If we could have stopped (Denver) 40% of the time on third down, we would have had a better chance of winning," Walters said. "The attitude has to be that no matter what happens, we are going to stop the other team on third. . . . Sometimes I'm a step too slow, and I have to pick it up a little bit."
Houston Oiler quarterback Warren Moon's status was upgraded to questionable Thursday for Sunday's game against the Chargers. Moon was listed as doubtful Wednesday after he injured his right shoulder two weeks ago against Cleveland. Brent Pease, a replacement player who started all three strike games for the Oilers, would start in place of Moon. But Coach Al Saunders said he believes Moon will be Houston's starter Sunday. "I couldn't imagine Warren Moon not playing in a game of that magnitude," Saunders said. Ron Lynn, Charger defensive coordinator, said that even if Moon doesn't start, he doesn't plan to alter the defense. "Pease is a guy who has run that offense in college (University of Montana). For the most part, (Montana) ran a lot of the run-and-shoot concepts, if not exactly the same way they are doing it with the Oilers," Lynn said.