LA Chargers News

LA Chargers: Who benefits most from the possible defensive scheme changes

By Steven Haglund
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 08: Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley of the Los Angeles Chargers smiles prior to the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on December 08, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 08: Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley of the Los Angeles Chargers smiles prior to the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on December 08, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) – LA Chargers /

LA Chargers’ primary benefactor: The pass rushers

It’s no secret that the LA Chargers have one of the best pass-rushing duos in the league with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, but they need help. The Chargers were one of the worst teams in the league last season in terms of sacks and forced pressures.

A lot of that is due to not having much of a presence from the interior of the defensive line, hence the move to swap out Brandon Mebane with Joseph.

Highest Pass Rush Win % in 2019

1. Joey Bosa – 23.1%2. Aaron Donald – 22.6%3. Za’Darius Smith – 21.6%4. Trey Flowers – 20.7% pic.twitter.com/frmhC3kKun

— PFF (@PFF) June 8, 2020

Make no mistake about it, the Chargers do need Joseph, Jerry Tillery, Justin Jones, and the recently re-signed Damion Square to provide a more consistent pass rush up the middle. But the Chargers were also one of the teams with the lowest blitz percentage.

Some of that is from James and Phillips not being healthy which forced Bradley to be even less aggressive than usual with his linebackers because he needed them to help compensate for the lack of talent and depth at the safety position, but the Chargers had a low blitz rate even before last season it just wasn’t talked about as much.

I bring up the blitz rate because when you have such a low blitz rate that allows the opposing teams to send two blockers to your best pass rushers, in this case, Bosa and Ingram. Since the Chargers had almost no threat of pass rush up the middle Bosa, in particular, was facing double teams of some sort on almost every play.

Bringing even just one more rusher, whether that be Murray, James or even Desmond King who is a fantastic blitzer, should free Bosa and Ingram up even more to face single coverage. That should be a scary thought for opposing teams.

The Chargers blitzed at a franchise-low 14.5% last season, per The Athletic’s Daniel Popper. In 2018 the Chargers were 30th in blitz percentage at 17%. While Bradley is the play-caller and he’s traditionally been pretty low with his blitz rates, if Lynn wants the team to blitz more often then they will.

So if that number can come up to anywhere between 20-25% that should do wonders for Bosa and Ingram, who are both in contract years and need to have big-time seasons as they look for their next paydays.

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