The Chargers’ defense laid down some serious markers during 2017 and much of the good work seen on the field from Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and company can be credited back to the inclusion of Gus Bradley as defensive coordinator under Anthony Lynn.
With ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirming the Seattle Seahawks are interested in bringing Bradley back to CenturyLink Field, general manager Tom Telesco and the Chargers hierarchy need to do everything they can to lock down Bradley and keep him part of Lynn’s staff.
The former Jaguars’ head coach came to the Chargers on a one-year deal as part of sweeping changes that saw Mike McCoy and defensive coordinator John Pagano dumped and oversaw an immediate improvement in defensive output from the Bolts.
With Bradley pulling the strings, the Chargers’ defense ranked inside the top 20 overall in most metrics. But more than sheer numbers and production, the defense became a much better unit under the former four-year Seahawks coordinator and appear on a trajectory of further improvement moving forward.
2017 Bolts Defense:
Lowest red zone scoring percentage in the NFL ☑️
Fewest points per game allowed this season since 1992 ☑️
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) January 8, 2018
The Chargers finished fifth overall in sacks for 2017, with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram standing out as one of the premier pass-rushing duos in the league and while Bosa always looked a superstar in the making, the improvement in Ingram’s game is notable and should show Telesco why Bradley is an integral part of the setup moving forward.
Simply put, Gus Bradley is hugely important to the Chargers.
After a poor 2017 on that side of the ball, the Seahawks also appear eager to bring Bradley back. Injuries to key stars like Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor as well as reports of unrest made for an ugly season for Pete Carroll’s troops. The famed ‘Legion of Boom’ are under threat and need to revamp their approach, making Bradley an interesting target.
Closer to home, the progress made by Bradley and the Chargers needs to be consolidated. Bosa racked up 12.5 sacks last season. Ingram managed 10.5 while Jahleel Addae led the team in tackles with 96 combined, 28th overall in the NFL.
Overall, the Chargers were third in the NFL for points allowed.
The numbers don’t blow you over, but the improvement and trajectory they illustrate show just how crucial Bradley was to the team. For first-year coach Anthony Lynn, Bradley offered a stable hand. To the organization as a whole, Bradley is the sort of football guy you want in the building.
As things stand, Gus Bradley is the hottest free-agent commodity the Chargers have. Locking him down to a long-term deal is absolutely vital in securing the immediate future of the franchise.
Success now is more important than ever, given the fickle and often disinterested Los Angeles market.