Fourth change the LA Chargers need to make: Use cover 3 less frequently
The cover 3 defense has treated the LA Chargers very well over the last few seasons and is the reason why the team has had one of the best secondaries in terms of passing yards allowed. For the most part, the system has been successful in what it is intended to do: stop the pass.
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This is a great strategy in a pass-first league and the Chargers should continue to utilize the cover 3 as their main defensive gameplan moving forward. The problem is that the team is often too reliant on cover 3 and do not switch it up enough by dropping back two safeties.
This is something that Gus Bradley has already alluded to in conference calls with reporters earlier in the offseason. Bradley said that he wanted to implement more two-deep safety looks and man coverage (h/t Daniel Popper, The Athletic) and Charger fans should be hoping that Bradley is a man of his word.
The biggest problem with the defense over the last few years is that when a team has properly schemed against cover 3 and finds a way to exploit it Bradley often shells up and does not make the necessary changes that a defensive coordinator has to make.
The number one example of this is a game that we would all like to forget: the 2018 Divisional Round against the New England Patriots. The Chargers were absolutely good enough to beat the Patriots in that game, especially if the defense had the same showing that it had the previous week against the Baltimore Ravens.
Nope. Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels exploited the Chargers’ defensive scheme and the Bolts did not respond quickly enough. The Patriots scored a touchdown in each of their first four drives and the Chargers had to deal with a 35-7 halftime deficit.