Current Chargers Roster looks like a 4-3 Defense


Dec 30, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram (54) in the rain during the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

By James Fedewa

The San Diego Chargers will consider changing to the 4-3 defense 2013 (from defensive coordinator John Pagano’s 3-4 base defense). Pagano does specialize in the 3-4 Defense, but is not limited to one base defense. Any base defensive front is 100% based on the player personnel and will be run more than 50% of the time. If you have a lot of linebackers and want your best players of the field, play 3-4. If you have more D-Linemen that are pass rushers, play the 4-3.

Labeling and ranking San Diego personnel is very subjective, but the best players, most productive (and most experience) should be playing the majority of defensive snaps. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but simple mathematics and experience (within current players) alter defensive formations once the regular season starts. Here’s a ranking of current Chargers Defensive Starters, in order of best player (considering nickel-back is a starting position):

1.) Eric Weddle – FS*

2.) Corey Liuget – DE*

3.) Donald Butler- ILB*

4.) Derrick Cox – CB*

5.) Kendall Reyes – DE*

6.) Melvin Ingram – ROLB/RDE*

7.) Jarret Johnson – LOLB

8.) Shareece Wright – CB

9.) Cam Thomas – NT

10.) Marcus Gilchrist – NB

11.) Brandon Taylor – SS

12.) Jonas Mouton – ILB

Top Backup Players:

1.) Darrell Stuckey – S

2.) Larry English – ROLB/RDE

3.) Johnny Patrick – CB

4.) Andrew Gachkar – ILB

5.) Bront Bird – ILB

6.) Jarius Wynn, DE

18 notable defensive players…

Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes are probably the best 1-2 punch and strength of the Chargers defense. Both are capable of rushing the passer in dime and nickel formations, but in the Chargers base 3-4D, they focus on gap control, neutralizing blockers with limited pass rushing assignments. Both Luiget and Reyes can be better utilized rushing the passer vs. holding up offensive linemen enabling San Diego’s linebackers. Both could benefit in a sturdy rotation with NT Cam Thomas, who is a pretty good middle pass rusher too. Liuget and Reyes are the strengths of the Chargers defense, yet are more reactive (in plugging holes), than proactive (in getting the quarterback). They are both better suited as 4-3 defensive tackles.

Melvin Ingram is a 270 lbs. linebacker, capable of playing multiple positions in the Chargers front seven. His strengths are rushing the passer mixed with his size and quickness. He might be a good OLB, but he might be better at just focusing on pressuring the quarterback and being a 4-3 defensive end. Jarret Johnson has experience playing a hybrid DE in Baltimore and starts, only on 1st and 2nd Downs. Johnson is not a superstar, but a very good player and team leader.

Larry English was a DE in college and at 255 lbs. can lineup in multiple outside positions on the D-line (including wide-9 right DE). If English earns playing time and can stay healthy, this is his year. English was drafted based on his smarts and high speed pass-rush while in a hunched over “crouch”. English can run a 4.8 40 yard dash, without standing straight up. He has all the talent in the world, is very savvy (scored a 37 on the wonderlic`) and should have a break out year with S.Phillips and A.Barnes gone (which means more playing time)…

4-3 inside linebackers are the only question marks (if San Diego does change to the 4-3). Butler, Mouton and Gachkar all have a lot of speed but 2 of the 3 lack NFL experience. Butler is a quality linebacker and expected to become a pro-bowler. He could probably become the Chargers best defensive player this season and is already a team leader…

Rating the Chargers defensive players: *6 (of 12) starters are better suited playing in the 4-3 defense (based on skill set, experience, height, weight and speed). San Diego will draft an inside linebacker this week in the draft, but will he be a 43OLB or a 34ILB?

Say what you will, but SD looks 4-3…