Chargers Free Agency

Thomas Davis: What he brings to Chargers defense

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 17: Thomas Davis #58 of the Carolina Panthers defends a pass to Dan Arnold #85 of the New Orleans Saints in the third quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 17, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 17: Thomas Davis #58 of the Carolina Panthers defends a pass to Dan Arnold #85 of the New Orleans Saints in the third quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 17, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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CHARLOTTE, NC – OCTOBER 12: Thomas Davis #58 of the Carolina Panthers takes the field against the Philadelphia Eagles at Bank of America Stadium on October 12, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC – OCTOBER 12: Thomas Davis #58 of the Carolina Panthers takes the field against the Philadelphia Eagles at Bank of America Stadium on October 12, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Thomas Davis game recap

Davis had his best game of the season statistically, with his 12 total tackles the only time he crossed into double digits that year. What isn’t shown in the previous set of plays, however, are the number of times Davis dropped into coverage and shadowed the running back, preventing any kind of safety outlet on a number of snaps. Though not perfect in coverage, No. 58 looked much more comfortable reading and reacting to a play than some of the linebackers on this roster.

It’s a bit of a disappointment to see a few big plays go against Davis, particularly the 4th-and-inches where he has a chance to stop the Saints and give Cam Newton one more drive to win the game.

12. 15. . 9. 87

However, mixed in with those plays are a number of highlights. Davis getting beat by the tight end, recovering, and getting his hands up to force an interception is exactly what one would expect from a veteran player; maybe he’s a bit slower, but he’s still a smart player. Perryman is usually the only linebacker on the roster who can make plays at the line of scrimmage, but Davis’ addition now gives them multiple (if White recovers and plays well) who can do more than just make a tackle but give up four yards in the process. Davis is more than capable of stuffing running backs at the line of scrimmage, a huge boost for a defense that may have the best trio of defensive linemen in the NFL.

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Davis could play all of 10 snaps per game and still give the defense a boost. It’s more than just on the field play, but also the inspiration he provides a number of young linebackers who seek to become stable centerpieces for the Chargers. Perryman was only given a short contract, White is trying to rebound from an injury, Brown is fighting to stay relevant, and Drue Tranquill is a rookie trying to prove himself; Davis can help each of them accomplish their 2019 goals by being the mentor the Chargers brought him in to be. The team has veteran leadership at all three levels of the defense now, and with No. 58 on the field, the Chargers just got a whole lot tougher and smarter.

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