LA Chargers: 5 things we learned about the Bolts this offseason
By Jason Reed
5. The LA Chargers’ focus on defense was stopping the run
Every move that the LA Chargers made on the defensive side of the ball this offseason is going to help improve the run defense. It is clear that this was a priority for the front office and it should have been, as the run defense has been the Achilles’ Heel of the team for far too long.
Despite putting up great numbers in passing yards allowed and total points allowed, the Chargers were allowing teams to extend drives far too often with poor run defense. Teams were able to gain yards on the ground early in the chains and make third-down conversions easier.
The Chargers were one of the worst teams in the league in stopping the run last season. Their 45.1 opponent third-down conversion percentage was the fourth-worst in the league.
Stopping the run is going to be the difference between the Bolts having a great defense and having an elite defense and the front office made some moves to help in that fight this offseason.
Most notably is Kenneth Murray, who the team traded up for in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft and provides the hard-nosed, gap-plugger that the Chargers have not had at inside linebacker in quite some time.
The team also brought in Linval Joseph, a veteran defensive tackle who thrives in stopping the run. It does not stop there, though, as Chris Harris, despite being a corner, is actually one of the best corners in the league in run defense.
Despite having an overall down year last season, Harris still posted an 82.8 run defense grade last season, according to Pro Football Focus. Harris has consistently posted really good run defense metrics for a corner and had the fourth-highest run defense grade among corners with at least 50 percent snaps played last season.
Of those top four, he was the only corner to have over 400 run defense snaps.
If the LA Chargers can accomplish what they set out to achieve in stopping the run then the defense will truly be elite.