Jan 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; San Diego Chargers outside linebackerReggie Walker
(52) and outside linebackerMelvin Ingram
(54) celebrate an interception during the fourth quarter of the AFC wild card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. San Diego won 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
The Chargers defense struggled for most of the season with the lack of depth at all positions. There will be a lot of upgrades needed all around the defensive side of the football. Here is a breakdown on each of the position groups.
The defensive line struggled for most of the season. The nose tackle position was the most glaring hole on the roster. Cam Thomas was unable to take on that role as the starter after Aubrayo Franklin was allowed to walk away in free agency. Franklin is available in free agency again and the team might want to pick him up. The team could also look at Louis Nix from Notre Dame in the draft. Corey Liuget is a solid starter, but the team needs to find more help on the defensive line. Kendall Reyes didn’t stand out this year and the team could use more depth at the position behind him.
The outside linebackers had a ton of injuries during the year. Melvin Ingram came back and added a spark toward the end of the year, but the guys that were counted on to contribute missed a lot of time. Dwight Freeney is coming back from a serious injury and is getting up there in age. The team will hope that he is able to return. He is one of the players on the roster that is able to add consistent pressure. Jarret Johnson adds toughness off of the edge and missed a lot of time this season also. He played well this year, but missed too much time. You can never have too many pass rushers and the Chargers don’t have enough.
The middle linebacker depth is terribly weak. After Donald Butler and Manti Te’o, the talent drops off badly. Bront Bird had to play when Te’o had to leave on Sunday with an injury. Donald Buler is a free agent and the team needs to bring him back. Depth is needed in a bad way at the position. Te’o and Butler would be solid starters in the middle.
Shareece Wright looks like a solid starter on one side, but the team could use another starter at corner. Richard Marshall finished the season as the starer and did alright. Derek Cox was a huge disappointment and needs to be dropped off of the roster. Johnny Patrick and Steve Williams will make their return this season, but the team needs more depth at the position and a starter on the opposite side of Wright.
Eric Weddle is one of the best at the position, but we need more help at the strong safety position. Weddle shouldn’t be the guy playing tough in the box. He is too small and gets pounded down there. He should be roaming free in the secondary and getting his hands on the football. He had to roam down in the box too much this season with the injuries at linebacker. Jahleel Addae proved to be a solid find as an undrafted free agent. They should look to get Bernard Pollard in the secondary. he would be a nice fit on the roster.
John Pagano’s contract is done and Mike McCoy needs to decide if the two fit together. Expectations are that the team will bring him back though.