Thomas Davis was brought on to the Chargers to provide stability at linebacker. What else does the veteran bring to the defense?
The Chargers made Thomas Davis their prize free agent of 2019, a move both unexpected yet completely in line with what the team wanted for their linebacker group. Davis has 1,098 tackles, 28 sacks, and 13 interceptions for his career, spending 13 seasons with the Carolina Panthers before moving on in free agency. A former Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award winner, Davis brings three key traits to a defense that lacked them last year:
- Stability, particularly with health of the linebackers.
- Veteran leadership. Denzel Perryman is just 26.
- Size. Davis is bigger in person (with pads) than expected.
The Chargers featured an undersized and young group of linebackers for most of 2018, a combination that saw Jatavis Brown and Denzel Perryman go down before the postseason began. The team was able to mask this deficiency in Baltimore thanks to phenomenal play from the defensive line, but was exposed in New England (because everyone is) and unable to defend the run or pass.
Davis looks to bring each of those three traits to this group, where his insertion into the starting lineup creates a ripple effect that should improve every member of the defense around him. By watching him play last year, one can begin to get a sense of how No. 58 will fit in with the team and what he brings to the defense. To find out what kind of player Davis can be, look no further than the Week 15 clash with the New Orleans Saints.