The staff here at BoltBlitz.com gives their takes and predictions as to what they think will happen come kickoff on the road versus the Broncos.
Zak Darman: The Chargers beat the Broncos only two weeks ago, showing off their beautiful looking color rush jerseys, 21-13 in a game in which the Chargers fully outplayed the Broncos, whether the team stats show it or not. Joey Bosa was a monster in that game defensively and Gordon finally had a long run in the regular season. Siemian was coming off a left shoulder injury and couldn’t find rhythm all game. BUT, it’s two games in three weeks for each team versus each other and beating a team twice in three weeks is tough no matter the opponent. I think this game is close and a turnover by either side determines the game. The offensive line looked baaaaad last week vs a front seven that is weaker than the one they are about to face off against and Kubiak being back is also a plus for Denver. Broncos 24-Chargers 20
Chris LaFurno: Chargers win on a late 4th quarter drive ending in a touchdown by MG28. Jatavis and Bosa combined for 3 sacks. Flowers comes back and gets an interception. Chargers 24 Broncos 21.
Michael Brazeel: Chargers travel to Mile high, trying to win their 3rd in a row. This will definitely be a defensive struggle, with the score being tied 17-17 in the 4th. Broncos will get the ball with a minute left and will kick a field goal with no time left. This will send the Bolts to 3-5, setting up a must win game against the Titans at home next week. Broncos 20-17
Travis Blake: I’ll really be looking at 94 in this game, he was losing snaps to Caraun Reid before Reid was placed on IR. With Joey Bosa drawing double teams, Liuget needs to start winning more often, so far he hasn’t performed to the big contract extension he signed recently (normal). I’m really nervous about both Flowers and Addae possibly playing in this game. Flowers is old and Addae has never been very good. Hopefully the fact that Trevor Siemian sucks will help these two boat anchors out. Pressure all day is they main key for the Bolts defense. Chargers win definitively, 34-17
Laura Leech: A second away game for the Chargers, this one in Mile High. The defense continues to play with an arrogance not seen in a few years. They stop the Broncos from going down the field a lot. They get 3 sacks and one interception. Chargers offense still struggles against a powerful pass defense and end up running the ball a lot. They score more than one touchdown but still settle with a few field goals. A battle of defenses, the Chargers pull off the biggest upset of the year, sweeping the Broncos. 31-17 Chargers
Brian Scott: San Diego faces another uphill battle as they travel to Denver to face the 5-2 Broncos. Two weeks ago, the Chargers dominated the game against the Donkeys, only to still have to worry about an onside kick and a Hail Mary. After beating Atlanta last week, and winning the first back-to-back games since Nov of 2014, confidence is rising in the Bolts locker room, even with players dropping like flies onto the IR. CJ Anderson is out, however Booker is a talented back who thrives between the tackles. Trevor Siemian is beginning to look like the 7th round draft pick that he was as of late, and faces another hungry Charger defense. Rumors also have it that Siemian has been given the green light to change plays at the line of scrimmage as he sees fit. San Diego has lost the last 3 in Denver and has not swept the Broncos since the 2010 season. However, with the balanced attack offensively and Bosa, Liuget and Ingram playing lights out defense, the Chargers will win their third in a row, and finally sweep the team that has given them fits for years. 24-17 bolts
Brian Krich: I believe the Chargers will get the inside run game going this week as Denver has shown they are vulnerable there. I’d feel better if Denzel Perryman hadn’t had to pull off a Kellen Winslow impression circa 1982 in Miami as he’s the key to corralling the suddenly resurgent Denver run game. I think he’s pretty dinged up at this point and probably needs a week or two off. Given its in Denver and I think the Broncos are deeper and a little more healthy. I have Denver winning in a 23-17 type game.
Chris Hoke: Flowers makes his return to the defense and has a big day with a pick. Bosa continues his tear and gets another Strip Sack. Gordon gets going on the ground and in the air 150 total scrimmage yards. Rivers has a solid day passing 18/28 250 yards 2 TDs. It’s the one pick he will want back as his costly turnover will turn this one. Chargers drop a close one 24-21.
Cheryl White: Chargers get scores from Gordon, Henry & Williams. Bosa gets a sack. Ingram & Perryman continue to wreak havoc. Side note: The Broncos Center, Matt Paradis, is questionable. Maybe Siemian has a few errant snaps? 27-20 Chargers.
Mike Pisciotta: Does the other shoe drop or does McNorv do enough to stay out of the way? Lately, Trevor Siemian has looked like a seventh round pick. Joey Bosa continues his tear and channels his inner Von Miller, strip sacking Siemian in the closing minutes to preserve the win. Bolts 28 – Broncos 24
Will McCafferty: I’m worried because I actually feel really good about the Bolts chances on Sunday. The last two weeks, I picked the Bolts to win (I always do), but I didn’t feel good about it. In both cases, they won! Now, I feel like they should win, so I have to worry about being let down AGAIN! The final score of this game could greatly depend on the injury report. If Marshall, Talib, Anderson and Ware are actually “out”, I think we run the score up on them. The problem is that they could just be resting Marshall and Talib due to a short week. Well, I am betting that these guys will at least be slowed down by injuries. Chargers 31 Broncos 13
Greg Williams: The Chargers continue to build momentum and confidence this week in Denver. Mile High Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Chargers but this year it’s San Diego that will hand out the Halloween Eve frights. The defensive line tees of on Trevor Siemian to the tune of eight sacks. The multitude of sacks will result in fumbles, interceptions and short fields for Philip Rivers and the Chargers. Gordon will add two more touchdowns to his ledger. Tyrell Williams and Hunter Henry will have red zone touchdowns and Rivers will post 350 and 4 touchdowns on the vaunted Denver defense. Chargers win 41-13.
Dave Peters: The Bolts travel to Mile High to take on the Broncos in a game that could provide the Chargers with their first sweep of the Broncos since 2010. After beating Denver at home and then Atlanta on the road, San Diego is primed to win their third game in a row. Sophomore Melvin Gordon does his usual: over 100 yards from scrimmage and reaches pay dirt twice. Rivers is efficient but doesn’t pass for a ton of yards, finding both Tyrell Williams and Hunter Henry for scoring tosses. Rookie Joey Bosa wreaks havoc throughout the game, but it barely shows in the box score. He still manages to add a sack to his season total. The special teams units go unnoticed, which is good thing as there won’t be any glaring mistakes in this one. Chargers win, sweeping the Broncos for the first time since my son, Kayden, was born. 34-24 bolts
Though we are not sure as to whether or not the Chargers’ first-round pick, Joey Bosa, will play in Week 5 against the Oakland Raiders, we do know that defensive tackle Damion Square will be back in the fold after serving his four-game suspension for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.
“I made a mistake,” Square said via ESPN.com right after news of the suspension came down. “It’s one that you always want to take back, but you can’t take it back. So you just take it and move on; it’s one day at a time. My teammates accepted me, which I knew that they would, because this is a great group of guys.
“You always wonder how a mistake like this is going to affect your job, but it is one day at a time.”
The fourth-year veteran will be playing in his third season with the Bolts. Sparingly used throughout his tenure with San Diego, the 6-foot-2, 293-pound defensive lineman has tallied 10 total tackles, one pass defensed and one fumble recovery over his career. Though those stats are very unspectacular, Square was making his presence known at times last season and during the preseason.
If nothing else, he can provide starters such as Brandon Mebane and Corey Liuget a breather from time to time, keeping them fresh. As it stands now, former fifth-round pick Ryan Carrethers has been inactive each week due to his inability to make an impact.
I would envision that Square would immediately leapfrog Carrethers on the depth chart and be active on game days.
Dave Booga Peters
See what two of our writers, Zak Darman and Chris Hoke, have to say about whether or not the 2016 San Diego Chargers will make the playoffs this season.
Zak Darman: NO DEAL! The San Diego Chargers will NOT make the playoffs at years end.
The Chargers made some nice moves in the offseason to boost up their offense by signing wide receiver Travis Benjamin and center Matt Slauson. It is no secret that the offense is much improved, starting with the addition of offensive guru Ken Whisenhunt. The offense was looking very good in Week 1, right before Keenan Allen left that game with a torn ACL, ending his season. The running game looked much improved with a better and more decisive Melvin Gordon. The loss of Danny Woodhead from Sunday’s game against Jacksonville will hurt immensely, though, and they hope the recent signing of Dexter McCluster will help. We will see.
On defense, however, is where the weaknesses still stand out. The Bolts used the No. 3 overall selection on defensive end Joey Bosa, who has not played in a single game this season due to contract negotiations/injury, and brought in nose tackle Brandon Mebane, cornerback Casey Heyward and safety Dwight Lowery. I still don’t like this group because in my opinion they don’t have enough playmakers to take this team to the next level. Manti Te’o is below average and prior to being lost for the season due to injury, there was a question whether he should be starting or not. The safeties are a joke and the pass rush is still bad. Outside of Pro Bowler Jason Verrett, who else is there? It also does not help to have one of the worst defensive coordinators in all of football in John Pagano. Yes, the defense looked great in the first half vs KC but lets not forget that the Chiefs were without Jamaal Charles and Alex Smith was missing some wide open short route throws that he usually doesn’t miss. This unit has been overrated from the get-go and it needs to be addressed. The defense looked better in week 2, but that was against a young and inexperienced Jaguars team. On Sunday, Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton did what they wanted. Verrett wasn’t on his game and the defense had no shot.
First let me start by saying for the sake of this piece I will make a case for Mike McCoy even if my previous articles and opinions have stated otherwise. Mike McCoy has shown flashes of being a Coach who can lead this team. All of the losses, huge injuries, off the field drama with Eric Weddle and now Joey Bosa, has caused major distractions which is never a good recipe in the locker room. In this case for Mike McCoy winning fixes everything. Even through three major season-ending injuries to key players, this team is built to win and get deep into the playoffs. Here’s how:
As Zak had pointed out above, the improvement of this offense is the running game. Yes it is odd to say this, due to the horrible run game the Chargers have had in a long time, a running game is very much back in San Diego; maligned since the departure of Ken Whisenhunt and Ryan Mathews. It’s no coincidence that since his return to America’s finest city, the run game has been rejuvenated. Gordon, who had zero touchdowns last year, has already compiled four scores along with his first career 100 yard rushing game against the Jags. Follow that up with a passing attack, without Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead whom are both lost for the season, still has the weapons to be very dangerous. With the old reliable Antonio Gates on the sidelines, there is not much room for panic with the emergence of second round pick Hunter Henry. Even with the fumbled tragedy that ended any last ditched efforts for a win last week against the Colts, Hunter had a pretty solid game; breaking open for huge yards. Continuity between him and Rivers will only begin to grow more with each big play Hunter makes. The future is still bright for these Bolts offensively.
After being released from the Chargers after the 2012 season, former Head Coach Norv Turner was asked for a quote regarding the new incoming coaching staff. “They need to have a lot of patience with them.”
“Them” referencing all Charger fans.
Maybe we need to really forget about 2013 as maybe the Chargers caught lightning in a bottle with a group of talent that really wasn’t that good, at least defensively. Moving on to this year, it’s been four years and four drafts since Tom Telesco and company took over. Some naysayers have claimed that he has missed on players, but at the same time he has found some gems, such as Jason Verrett. There are others like Craig Mager and DJ Fluker where the verdict is still to be determined however in my opinion they are good additions to this team.
I will say that the defensive talent on this team, is what Pagano has been waiting for. We all have seen what Hayward has done thus far and of course what the Pro Bowler Verrett can do, but the key addition, in my opinion, is the addition to Brandon Mebane – whose presence alone has shifted protection schemes. That ability, to force opposition to change schemes, is not listed in the box score yet it creates room for the linebackers, such as new defensive captain Melvin Ingram, to reap the rewards.
The first round pick Joey Bosa has yet to take the field – signs pointing to week 5 or 6. The Chargers seem fine to just ease him in slowly rather to not risk further injury. Even with the loss of Manti Teo, Jatavis Brown stepped in and showed that he can be an instant playmaker. When Bosa does finally step in and is at game level, this defense will be headed to the next level. We already see what happens when Mebane is on the field and when you add in the beast Corey Liuget and Bosa – the three-headed monster will lead this team to playoffs and hopefully back to the Super Bowl.
In closing, if McCoy can remain aggressive, this team can and will make the playoffs. If his attitude is as assertive as I saw it to be in 2013, it will resonate throughout the whole locker room. As long as we do not continue to lose key players every week, this team has the talent to beat any team on any given Sunday. The defense could easily be ranked in the top five, sans injuries of course, and as we have seen in the past, defense wins championships. Toss in a future Hall of Fame quarterback, a running back who is so raw and talented, and a receiving core who has already manifested themselves as reliable, the San Diego Chargers will make it deep into the playoffs. Perhaps we will hear this again.
Let us know your opinion on whether or not the Chargers, as it stands, will make the playoffs this season.
Thanks for reading
As many of us may have expected, due to a lingering holdout over contract issues which saw him miss much-needed practice time on the field in training camp, Joey Bosa is reportedly dealing with a hamstring ailment.
General manager Tom Telesco confirmed the hamstring issue with XTRA1360 on Thursday.
Bosa has missed his last two opportunities to practice with his teammates in pads due to “tightness,” as explained by head coach Mike McCoy via multiple reports.
For all parties involved — players, coaches, the organization and the fans — this is extremely frustrating. It was predicted by everyone and their dog that this would be the case. A player, rookie or veteran, cannot miss that amount of time and expect to come back and go full-speed without experiencing some sort of rust/tightness.
The recent news that this is a hamstring problem is quite troubling, seeing as hamstring ailments can be tricky. You can’t rush a player back to the field because you would then take the chance of this thing lingering throughout the season, causing Bosa to miss an extended amount of time.
Although the team has yet to rule out the former Buckeye for their Week 1 contest against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead, it is very unlikely that he will play.
Once the rookie is healthy enough to play, it will be interesting to see what kind of impact he’ll have in games. He will most likely be used sparingly at first, as the team waits for him to get into football shape — which then will have to translate into game-shape.
Once again, although you were holding out to get paid more of your money sooner, it does NOT pay to hold out. And such is the case with Joey Bosa.
Dave Booga Peters
The countdown to San Diego Chargers training camp 2016 now stands at four days. The eyes will be trained to look for the faces we know. There will be many more faces we don’t know which will require a look into the program to see who’s making head-turning plays on the field. In an effort to provide as many advance primers as possible, today, I turn my player spotlight on Carlos Wray.
Wray signed with San Diego as an undrafted free agent immediately after the 2016 NFL Draft. The 6’1″, 287-pounder was the anchor of the Duke Blue Devils’ defense as their defensive tackle. Versatile, Wray was moved all over the field starting out as a defensive lineman, then to guard in his second year on the team. He had the most success his final two seasons in Blue Devils’ blue when he was moved to defensive tackle. In those two seasons he logged 86 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and two passes defensed.
At the Duke Pro Day, Wray ran the 40-yard dash in 4.85 seconds; impressive for a man his size. He posted 26 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press, broad jumped nine feet and showed a 28.5-inch vertical leap. NFL scouts love his wide body, high motor and fundamentally sound skill set, even though he’s only been playing defensive tackle for two seasons. After watching the video below, it’s obvious he was born to play defensive tackle.
Wray was the unquestioned leader of the Blue Devils’ locker room and those leadership attributes will translate well in the NFL. The line forms behind Brandon Mebane when it comes to nose tackles for the San Diego Chargers. The mix at DT currently consists of Corey Liuget, Sean Lissemore, Ryan Carrethers, Damion Square, Tenny Palepoi and Wray.
There is opportunity to take a slot on the depth chart for Wray. If he can bring the same intensity and passion he played with at Duke to Chargers Park, he has a great chance of staying on the roster. As a native North Carolinian and ACC homer, I will definitely be pulling for Wray to make the team.
What do you think? Do you like what you see? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
Follow Carlos on Twitter: @The1st_Montana
Good luck, Mr. Wray.
The Greg One
With the third pick of the 2016 NFL draft, the San Diego Chargers select defensive end Joey Bosa of Ohio State.
When the Chargers selected Bosa with the third overall pick in this year’s draft, I was a little disappointed; not because I don’t think he will be a good player, I just had my sights set on either Jalen Ramsey or DeForest Buckner.
Alas, the Chargers drafted the player who had been No. 1 on their draft board for the last two years.
Bosa had a phenomenal career while at Ohio State, compiling 148 total tackles (51 of which were tackles for loss), 26 sacks, one interception, six passes defensed, two fumbles recovered and five forced fumbles.
|*2013||Ohio State||Big Ten||FR||DL||11||27||15||42||13.5||7.5||0||0||0||1||1||0|
|*2014||Ohio State||Big Ten||SO||DL||15||39||16||55||21.5||13.5||0||0||0||1||1||4|
|2015||Ohio State||Big Ten||JR||DL||12||35||16||51||16.0||5.0||1||28||28.0||0||4||0||1|
(Stat chart credit: www.sports-reference.com)
A consensus All-American in both 2014 and 2015, Bosa was touted by many as the best player in all of college football for the last two seasons — at least until a month or so before the NFL draft.
In what was a bit surprising, as you looked around at all of the “experts'” mock drafts that were out there, Bosa started to fall down draft boards a few picks.
Once the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles moved up to secure the first and second overall picks, respectively, Bosa was no longer in the conversation for the No. 3 pick, as players like defensive back Jalen Ramsey, defensive end DeForest Buckner and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil were all prognosticated to the Chargers.
When looking back on it and allowing it to sink in, it is actually very impressive that Tom Telesco and company were able to play things so close to the vest, not letting the cat out of the bag that the former Buckeye had been their target all along.
In an effort to come to grips with the selection of the former Buckeye, I decided to find and watch several more of his games at Ohio State. One of the things that jumped out at me immediately was how Bosa was moved around between multiple spots along the defensive line, allowing the opportunity to create mismatches in his favor. From what I saw, Bosa was as impressive on the inside of the defensive line as he was on the outside at defensive end.
In the video below — and I apologize in advance for the language — you immediately see Bosa blow up a fourth-down play by hitting the open gap and bullrushing the running back into the quarterback, ending the game and winning the contest. On said play, Bosa was lined up inside. Throughout the video, you’ll notice that Ohio State moved Bosa all along the defensive line.
In addition to selecting Bosa in the draft and already having Corey Liuget signed for the foreseeable future, the Chargers signed nose tackle Brandon Mebane during free agency, giving the Bolts what could be one of the best d-lines in football.
Though the Bolts have already stated that their first-round pick will play defensive end in the team’s 3-4 defense, they will also utilize him on the inside in passing situations. I am looking forward to them doing just that.
Moving Bosa around forces the opposing offense to attempt to game plan for each individual situation differently.
When in a third-and-long situation, you could see him line up anywhere along the defensive line. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was asked to stand up, occasionally, as an outside linebacker.
Obviously, the Chargers have plenty of plans for Bosa, seeing as Tom Telesco and members of the coaching staff have spoken glowingly about the youngster’s playing ability. The kid is only 20 years old, too. He figures to be a fixture on the defense for many years to come. In order to maximize his potential, John Pagano must make sure to be creative when unleashing the rookie, forcing teams to pick their poison on a defensive unit that sorely needed an addition like Bosa.
Now, if only the Chargers and Bosa could get things figured out on a mutually beneficial contract prior to the beginning of training camp on July 29. All Chargers fans are waiting with bated breath for that very moment.
Thanks a lot for reading.
Dave Booga Peters
Over a month ago the San Diego Chargers drafted defensive end Joey Bosa with their third overall pick. Along with Bosa the Chargers drafted two more defensive players. One of them was Bosa’s running mate at Ohio State, Joshua Perry. These look to be great additions combined with the free agent signings of defensive tackle Brandon Mebane and safety Dwight Lowery.
Some Chargers fans are clamoring for the Chargers to switch defensive schemes. I’ll tell you why this can not and will not happen anytime soon. First, I’ll tell you the difference between the two schemes. For the purpose of this piece it will just be a base 3-4 scheme versus the base 4-3 scheme. After this I will give my opinion on why switching schemes wouldn’t be beneficial for the Bolts moving forward.
I’ve stated in a previous article (Bolt Up For Bosa) that the Chargers only run their base scheme about 50% of defensive snaps. It’s these 50% of snaps I will be focusing on. That being said what is a 3-4 defense? It has been used famously by Bum Phillips, the father of Wade Phillips.
Used by the Houston Oilers in the 70’s, it’s predicated on pressure by overwhelming the offensive line with multiple attacking defensive players. If used correctly this scheme can be virtually unstoppable. This was defensive scheme used most brilliantly by the Denver Broncos to defeat the Carolina Panthers in this past years’ Super Bowl.
The 3-4 was the staple of Dick LeBeau’s defense which helped drive multiple teams to Super Bowl appearances. Lebeaus’ defense has yielded two wins and four losses in the Super Bowl. In New England, the 3-4 has been the driving force behind the Patriots dynasty. Yes, Tom Brady has made his throws but its been the defense that’s given the Patriots four Super Bowl titles in 15 years.
Breaking it down the 3-4 consists of three down linemen and four linebackers. The four linebackers have endless possibilities on how they can be placed. There’s a multitude of packages to utilize. This makes the 3-4 a hard defense to plan against. With four linebackers you don’t know who is blitzing or who is dropping back in coverage. The point of a 3-4 defense is mismatches. It’s built to stop the run and apply endless amount of pressure on the opposing teams’ offensive line. In theory, the Chargers should be good at run-stopping although this has been the Achilles’ heel of the defense over the past several years.
Here’s a diagram of a basic 3-4 defense.
So how will the Chargers look defensively? Let’s start with the defensive line. At left defensive end will be Corey Liuget. Anchoring the middle will be nose tackle Brandon Mebane. At right defensive end will be Joey Bosa. At weak side outside linebacker will be Jerry Attaochu. The inside linebacker will be Manti Te’o. The middle linebacker will be Denzel Perrymen. The strong side linebacker will be Melvin Ingram.
Anchoring the back end of the defense from left to right will be left cornerback Jason Verrett. At Free Safety will be Dwight Lowery. Next to him will be strong safety Jahleel Addae. The right cornerback will be Brandon Flowers. Keep in mind this is how it stands right now. A lot depends on training camp and if the Chargers sign other free agents.
So now know how the Chargers will run their basic 3-4 defense. What is a 4-3 defense? The base 4-3 first came to us under Tom Landry when he was the Giants defensive coordinator in the 1950’s. He then made it even more famous with the Dallas Cowboys and through their vaunted “Doomsday” defense. Ever since, there’s been multiple variations of the scheme from the Bill Parcells stack defense to the Wide-9 defense famously used by the Philadelphia Eagles.
On to the basis of the 4-3. It’s four down linemen and three linebackers. In its most basic form the four down linemen will always have their hands in the ground and be in pursuit of whomever has the ball. The three linebackers are in charge of coverage in this base defense although they may blitz in certain packages.
Here’s a diagram of a basic 4-3 defense.
The Chargers run a variation of the 4-3 in a hybrid nickel package. The nickel package features Melvin Ingram and Jerry Attaochu with their hands in the dirt. The 3-4 defense has been implemented since 2001 when Marty Schottenheimer took over as head coach. Since then the Chargers have had a few dominant defenses in ’06, ’07, ’09 and 2010. Its been proven very effective when the right pieces are in place. In 2016 this is such the case. My main reason for this belief is Joey Bosa and the signing of cornerback Casey Hayward. The Hayward addition was an amazing pick up.
It’s all about the anchor of the 3-4, the nose tackle. A viable anchor is something the Chargers have lacked for so long. Since the days of Jamal Williams its been a revolving door at this position. Brandon Mebane probably didn’t make headlines to the casual Chargers fan. I believe this is the most underrated pickup of the whole offseason. Mebane can garner double- and sometimes even triple-teams.
This defense, hell, this whole team is going too shock a lot of people. As I said earlier the 3-4 requires almost pure selflessness from its three down linemen. It starts with Mebane. I may call him Bane by seasons’ end. If you know Batman then you understand the reference. Its been five years in the making with this defense. Why change philosophies now when this defense is so close to grasping greatness? Its proven to be a dominant defense in the past. It can and will be for years to come.
A football season is 16 games long. If a team is lucky, it can prolong the time of clearing out lockers and getting bodies healthy for at least four weeks beyond the regular season.
For Melvin Ingram, that would be a total of 64 games in which he could have played every September to December of the last four years. Instead, the thorn in his side has been injuries which cost him 19 games; the equivalent of an entire season!
Ingram’s 2013 campaign was supposed to see his statistics spike; after all, free agency saw Shaun Phillips move on to the AFC West rival Denver Broncos while Antwan Barnes joined the New York Jets. That left the second-year outside linebacker to learn from wily veterans such as Dwight Freeney and Jarret Johnson. Both Freeney and Johnson were known for their work ethic and hard-nosed play. Unfortunately, his sophomore season was over before it had even begun.
Ingram suffered an ACL tear on May 14 during OTA’s. The expectation was that Ingram would be lost for the year and in August he was placed on the Reserve/PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list. Fans were elated to see number 54 back on the field in December and ecstatic to have him force a fumble while sacking Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin. Two weeks later in Cincinnati, he intercepted Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the AFC Championship game.
“SupaMelvin” was BACK!! Or was he?
Ingram appeared to make it through the 2014 OTA’s, minicamp and preseason unscathed. That all changed after the September 14 game against the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. The weekend arrived and brought with it another stint on the Reserve/Designated to Return list. Eight weeks later he was back sporting his blue and gold. It was a deja vu moment – two years with back-to-back injuries and who does he suit against? Both games were at home against none other than those pesky Raiders. San Diego won both contests.
In April of 2015, the Chargers exercised the fifth-year option of Ingram’s rookie contract. His salary for the 2016 season is $7.751 million, per Spotrac. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2017.
Ingram appeared in all 16 games for the first time since his rookie season, collecting 65 tackles, 10.5 sacks and six passes defensed (PD). His career numbers in 45 outings are 143 tackles, 16.5 sacks, 13 PD with three forced fumbles.
The Bolts’ defense needs Ingram to step it up. Adding former Seahawk Brandon Mebane at the nose tackle position is a start. Drafting Joey Bosa, projected to be the bookend on the defensive line opposite Corey Liuget, was a boon. Having third-year man Jerry Attaochu in the mix along with thumper Denzel Perryman provides defensive coordinator John Pagano with chess pieces that he hasn’t had in years.
Ingram has only logged two games with more than a single sack, both coming last year. One was the preseason game against Seattle last year (2) and another 2.5 collected in the win over Miami. Expect that to change.
Should the starting group on the field complement one another as anticipated, I can see this defense lighting up wide receivers and tight ends, stuffing the run and pushing back opposing linemen.
For Ingram to be successful, he must start strong and stay strong. He has to be a leader on defense this season. He needs to set the tone.
Does Ingram outperform his 2015 numbers? I anticipate that he will. Could he get to 14.5? It could be a real possibility given he should be a bit more free to roam with Mebane in the middle at nose.
These guys don’t wear lightning bolts for show. That electricity HAS to find its way into each and every game and I hope that “SupaMelvin” leads the charge.
Thanks for reading!
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.
Fans and media aren’t the only ones glued to the television when the NFL Draft goes on the air every year. The players from each team are also on the edge of their seats. That interest can be divided into two sub-categories.
The main reason players are interested is to see who their rookie teammates will be for the upcoming season. The more self-serving reason is to see if the team is drafting a player at their position, thus endangering their own job status on the team.
All the buzz and rumors about who the San Diego Chargers would take with their first pick centered around Jalen Ramsey, Laremy Tunsil and DeForest Buckner. Hours before the draft multiple media outlets were predicting the Chargers taking Ronnie Stanley.
And with the third pick pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers select…the one player the ‘experts’ failed to mention.
Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa.
Talk about breaking the internet…social media exploded with the news. Reaction ran the gamut from shocked and surprised to angry and despondent. To his new teammates, this pick was a home run.
Great pick @Chargers welcome to the Squad Joey Bosa
— Melvin Ingram (@MelvinIngram) April 29, 2016
— San Diego Chargers (@Chargers) April 29, 2016
— Corey Liuget (@CoreyLiuget) April 29, 2016
— Jason Verrett (@Jfeeva_2) April 29, 2016
Bosa lets do this! Defense just got better
— Kyle Emanuel (@k_emanuel53) April 29, 2016
They have great reason to be excited. The Chargers have drafted a beast who will significantly improve their pass rush. Bosa was called the best player in college football. For those of you who didn’t watch follow Ohio State football here’s a small sample of what he does. Enjoy.
Looking forward to seeing the signature Bosa shrug in San Diego!
The Greg One