San Diego Chargers, Def, Chargers
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2015 Outlook: Bye Week Fill-inLast updated on Aug-20-2015 by Shawn Childs
San Diego's defense has a favorable schedule against the run and the pass. Their best four games vs. the run are DET, CHI, and OAK (X 2) with the Bengals being their only tough matchup. The Chargers has eight games against teams with below par passing attacks. They will face four teams with strong passing games – GB, PIT, and DEN (X 2).
The Chargers allowed the 26th most rushing yards (1986) in 2014 with rushers gaining 4.5 yards per play while scoring 11 rushing TDs.
DE Kendall Reyes has struggled as a run defender in his three years in the league after getting drafted in the second round in 2012. Kendall only recorded one sack last year with minimal pressure on the QB. DE Corey Liuget has also played poorly in his career in the run game. He did show some growth in this area last year, but Liuget is still a below league average run defender with neutral value as a pass rusher (five sacks, nine QB hits, and 24 QB hurries). Corey is a former first round draft pick (2011). NT Sean Lissemore has never been a full time starter in the league and he had no value in the pass rush. Sean is expected to compete with NT Ryan Carrethers and NT Mitch Unrein. Carrethers may work his way into the starting lineup as a rotational run defender. Unrein has no value in the pass rush with a slim chance of earning starting snaps.
LB Donald Butler was one of the worst defenders at the linebacker position in 2014. He couldn't stop the run or the pass plus he was a liability in pass coverage. I expect him to lose the starting job to rookie LB Denzel Perryman who will be an upgrade in run support. LB Manti Te'o improve against the run last year, but he is still a below league average player. LB Tourek Williams isn't an asset with minimal starting experience. His best competition for playing time is rookie LB Kyle Emanuel who was selected in the fifth round of this year's draft. Kyle may add value to the pass rush with his best asset being his strength. LB Melvin Ingram has yet to make an impact after being selected in the first round in the 2012 NFL Draft. Last year he missed most of the season with a hip and hamstring injury. In his nine games in 2014, Ingram did flash upside as a pass rusher (four sacks, 12 QB hits, and 16 QB hurries).
S Eric Weddle is the Chargers best defender. Eric tends to play well supporting the run with excellent value in pass coverage. S Jahleel Addae is a weak option for the other safety spot in the starting lineup. Addae has never been a full-time starter in the league, but San Diego really doesn't have any other player of value as this position on the roster. CB Brandon Flowers is decent cover corner with neutral value in run support. Last year he allowed 42 catches for 618 yards with four TDs and three INTs on 75 targets. CB Patrick Robinson should get the start early in the year after 2014 first round draft pick CB Jason Verrett recovers from a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Verrett played well in his eight games last year in pass coverage (14/28 for 158 yards and two TDs). Robinson tends to be overmatched as starter while holding his own when used as the 3rd CB.
San Diego Chargers S Eric Weddle
San Diego only managed 26 sacks in 2014 and this year, their defense won't be much better in this area. The Chargers ended 2014 4th in the league in passing yards allowed (3427) with 24 TDs allowed and only seven INTs.
This defense has upside in three of the four position groups in the starting secondary with a third cornerback who will help in pass coverage. The linebackers only have one upside option with a possibly a second if rookie LB Denzel Perryman can handle a starting job. The defensive line has more weaknesses than upside. The Chargers' defense will only have occasional value as a matchup play in 2015.
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