LA Chargers News

Grading the Chargers’ defense going into the 2018 season

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 23: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks for an open receiver against Joey Bosa #99 of the Los Angeles Chargers and Melvin Ingram #54 of the Los Angeles Chargers at AT&T Stadium on November 23, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 23: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks for an open receiver against Joey Bosa #99 of the Los Angeles Chargers and Melvin Ingram #54 of the Los Angeles Chargers at AT&T Stadium on November 23, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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After grading the Los Angeles Chargers’ offense, it’s time to grade the D heading into 2018.

Previously, I graded the Chargers’ current offense heading into 2018, now that we’ve passed free agency and the draft. You can check that out over here.  But this week, it’s time to move on to the defense. The defense improved greatly in 2017, becoming the 3rd-ranked team defense in the league, behind only the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars. However, there’s still some areas that could use improvement.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – OCTOBER 08: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants is sacked by Joey Bosa #99 of the Los Angeles Chargers during the first quarter during an NFL game at MetLife Stadium on October 8, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – OCTOBER 08: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants is sacked by Joey Bosa #99 of the Los Angeles Chargers during the first quarter during an NFL game at MetLife Stadium on October 8, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Defensive Line

For me, the D-Line is a dangerous group with potential that still needs to improve in a few areas. Looking at the ends, you have Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram terrorizing quarterbacks and O-Lines (crazy to think just a few years ago, Ingram was a linebacker).

I’ve got no concerns with the defensive and I think Bosa and Ingram will improve even further into another year of Anthony Lynn and Gus Bradley’s system.

The concern I see with the D-Line is really rush defense. While you have some good guys like Brandon Mebane and Corey Liuget in the middle, it’s still a bit of a porous rush defense.

And while rush defense isn’t just a line problem, and extends really to the whole defense, the first line of defense is really crucial. With running backs like Kareem Hunt, Marshawn Lynch,  Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley and LeSean McCoy coming to play the Bolts this year, it’s more important than ever.

Luckily, the Chargers did beef up in the draft with a guy like Justin Jones, but it’s going to be a tough test.

GRADE: B+

Linebackers

The Chargers’ linebacking group was a bit weak last year.

Denzel Perryman was hurt a lot of the year, Jatavis Brown had nagging foot and ankle injuries and had a reduced role with the team and Hayes Pullard… was Hayes Pullard. Kyle Emanuel played OK, I guess.

The Chargers addressed the linebacker need in the draft, with the selections of Uchenna Nwosu and Kyzir White. Neither should have any problem fitting in with their athleticism. If they add Perryman as the lead linebacker again without injury and can have Brown break out again, this could be a great corps. But there’s work to do.

GRADE: B-

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