Since being drafted with the 18th pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft, defensive end Corey Liuget has made his name known throughout the league.
Though he has yet to receive a Pro-Bowl nod, offensive coordinators know the name Cory Liuget.
The Chargers’ defense has lacked a true nose tackle for years and years; this has made Liuget’s job immeasurably more difficult, as he faces double-teams and chip blocks while already being engaged by an offensive lineman on the regular.
To put it quite simply — especially when you add in the fact that he has yet to have an impact player at the opposite defensive-end spot — Liuget’s job has been exponentially more difficult while opposing teams gameplan against the former Illinois’ defensive lineman.
General manager Tom Telesco used the 2016 offseason to provide Liuget with some serious help via free agency and the draft, adding former Seahawk Brandon Mebane at nose tackle and the No. 3 overall pick in the ’16 draft, defensive end Joey Bosa out Ohio State.
A defensive line featuring Liuget, Mebane and Bosa should automatically strike fear into the opponents that are on the schedule for this upcoming season.
Teams are going to be forced to pick their poison, so to speak: “Who the hell do we focus on when attempting to block the Chargers’ defensive line?”
For the time being, gone are the days of John Pagano’s unit forcing players like Sean Lissemore to play out of position at nose. Now that he is playing in Washington, the Bolts no longer need to force the issue of hoping that former Charger Kendall Reyes will return to his rookie playing days; you know, when he actually made an impact.
Though the Chargers are in a base-nickel package more than 60% of the time, the aforementioned players will still be manning spots along the team’s defensive line in multiple sets and schemes.
If Mebane is able to replicate the impact he had during his eight-year career with the Seahawks, and Bosa can live up to the hype of being the first non-quarterback selected in the 2016 draft, then Liuget will be freed up to make a ton of noise, forcing him into the mouths of media pundits all over the NFL.
A.J. Smith – Although I hated the pick at the time, you nailed it when you decided to take Liuget in the first round.
The fact that outside linebackers Melvin Ingram and Jerry Attaochu are finding their ways into box scores helps give more credence to my thoughts. Ingram had a career-high 10.5 sacks in 2015, while Attaochu added six sacks of his own.
The 2015 addition of Denzel Perryman at inside linebacker further lends itself to further back up my point. Perryman immediately started blasting opposing players as soon as he was inserted into the starting lineup. His play and impact made the move to release Donald Butler an easy call.
The 2016 season will end with Corey Liuget being named to his first Pro Bowl.
Write it down and book it.
All this young man has needed was a “little help from his friends.”
He has now received said help and as long as the three defensive lineman listed above stay healthy, the sky’s the limit for this defensive unit.
The Bolts’ defense has solid depth along the defensive line in Lissemore, Ryan Carrethers, Tenny Palepoi and Damion Square.
The Chargers’ defense has improved dramatically on paper, but it is up to players like Liuget to take advantage of each and every opportunity in order to maximize the talent in place.
Don’t sleep on this Chargers’ defense in 2016.
Thanks a lot for reading.