South Carolina Gamecocks
Melvin Ingram stated that he had things to show this year.
All the time he has spent studying film, all the hard work and sweat have coalesced into an opportunity he might have briefly thought about: defensive captain. On Wednesday, the Chargers named Ingram as the player who would wear the big “C” on his jersey in place of Manti Te’o, who was recently placed on IR (Achilles’ tear). The other defensive captain is nose tackle Brandon Mebane.
“I ain’t showed nothing,” Ingram told U-T San Diego back in June. “I have so much to show…It ain’t even started. You ain’t even seen what I got going on…When the season starts, everyone is going to see. It’s fixing to get real.”
The fifth-year pro appears to still carry a chip on his shoulder as a result of having missed 25 games in a little more than a year due to injuries. The 2015 campaign was his first full 16-game season since his 2012 rookie year. First there was the torn ACL which occurred May 14, 2013, during OTAs. He did not return to action until early December. Next came the hip injury sustained in a 2014 game against the Seahawks that caused him to miss seven weeks of playing time.
I think after all that adversity I’d be frustrated too!
Through the first three games of 2016, the former South Carolina Gamecock has pretty much matched the statistics of his initial year. Already, No. 54 has collected a combined eight tackles with seven of those being individual efforts. Additionally, Ingram has totaled two sacks, a forced fumble (FF) and a lone defended pass. In his first four career games, he was well on is way to being a force with seven solo tackles and an assist, three PDs and one FF.
In April of 2015, Tom Telesco and the Chargers chose to exercise the fifth-year option of Ingram’s rookie contract. It is worth $7.751 million, per Spotrac.com. It includes a guarantee for injury and becomes fully guaranteed should the stud linebacker be on the roster come Day 1 of the 2017 League Year.
The 2016 season is indeed a year in which “SupaMelvin” will be showcasing his worth from now until December. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2017, so he is also playing for the future. Whether that career remains in San Diego or continues elsewhere is unknown.
Fellow teammate Jeremiah Attaochu said it best to Ricky Henne of Chargers.com: “He is a leader first and foremost. And he does it all by example with the way he comes out there each day and plays. He is motivating to all of us with the way he does that. We need that right now as a defense with Manti going down. When Melvin speaks, everyone listens.”
The future is now for Ingram, and if he can get back to the level of play he was on the last nine games of 2015, he’ll receive a large contract and, most likely, remain with the Chargers for the foreseeable future.
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Is Melvin Ingram ready to take the next step and become a consistent staple of the San Diego Chargers’ defense?
The San Diego Chargers drafted Melvin Ingram with the 18th overall pick in the 2012 draft, despite concerns over his arm length. He has shown flashes of why the Chargers chose the former South Carolina Gamecock.
However, after his rookie campaign where he started two games out of the 16 he appeared in, he missed almost the entire 2013 season with a torn ACL, and again missed time during the 2014 season with a hip injury.
During his four seasons in the NFL, Ingram has amassed 143 tackles, 16.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles, having his best statistical season last year where he recorded 10.5 sacks and 65 tackles, while starting all 16 games.
Last year’s 10.5 sacks placed him tied for 12th among all defensive players in the NFL, however his 65 tackles placed him tied for 121st among all defensive players, and behind teammates Manti Te’o, Eric Weddle and rookie linebacker Denzel Perryman.
His injury history and lack of consistent play, mixed with his exponential boost in play at the midpoint of the 2015 season leaves many confused, and Ingram understands the frustrations.
“I ain’t showed nothing,” he told the San Diego Union-Tribune after last Tuesday’s practice. Also stating, “I have so much to show.”
Ingram has all the tools necessary to succeed. He is strong, quick and agile, he can shed defenders, he is everything you look for in an edge rusher, and over the years his role in the defense has become more defined. But, Ingram is coming into his contract year, and the consensus is that the time is now to live up to his first-round hype, and show consistency, or part ways with the organization.
When asked what he expects from himself this upcoming 2016 season Ingram told the San Diego Union-Tribune, “It ain’t even started.”
“You ain’t even seen what I got going on. When the season starts, everyone is going to see. It’s fixing to get real.”
Ingram seems fully confident coming into the 2016 season, and I believe it will be one for the books. He will continue to build on the successes of his 2015 season, and have the opportunity to pick up where he left off after his first fully healthy season.
Key additions Joey Bosa and Brandon Mebane will help disrupt offenses and cause confusion along the line of scrimmage, providing Ingram with the opportunity to wreak havoc in the backfield. Ingram’s success, along with the encouraging play of the Chargers’ linebackers, should also benefit the secondary.
It’s up to Ingram to prove his worth and take that next step many fans know he’s capable of taking.
I predict he’ll finish the 2016 season with 11.5 sacks and 88 combined tackles.