LA Chargers: Decision time on Justin Herbert and 5 Week 4 overreactions

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(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) – LA Chargers /

Overreaction #5: The LA Chargers defense is in trouble.

Through three weeks, the LA Chargers defense looked like one of the best in the NFL and a clear Top-5 unit.

In Week 4, the defense got absolutely shredded for 38 points, 369 passing yards, and 115 rushing yards against an offense that was missing Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette, lost O.J. Howard, and had a less than 100% version of Mike Evans.

To some extent, regression was to be expected. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense is probably the best that the Chargers have faced this season. Furthermore, the Chargers were missing some key defenders in Melvin Ingram and Chris Harris Jr. (not to mention Derwin James, who we have not seen this year).

However, getting burned by Scotty Miller, Justin Watson, and Ronald Jones is something that should not have occurred despite the injuries.

This begs the question: “Should we be concerned about the defense moving forward?”

The short answer in yes. The long answer is that things should improve in the long-term, but the short-term looks fairly bleak.

Without Melvin Ingram, the Chargers defensive line looked quite weak in Week 4. Joey Bosa seemed to be quite limited with his triceps injury coupled with frequent double teams, and the rest of the line was unable to get any sort of pass rush going.

That left the secondary vulnerable. Instead of rising the challenge, the secondary allowed completion after completion and a decent chunk of big plays.

Michael Davis made a couple of mistakes covering deep balls, but he was a positive contributor after considering his pick-six.

Casey Hayward, on the other hand, had a poor game for any player, much less one of his caliber. He and Desmond King also received little help from their safeties, who often arrived to the ball several steps too late on deep throws.

If the Chargers are able to regain some health and if Hayward is able to return to his normal shutdown form, the defense should be excellent again.

However, in the short term, the defense is quite concerning. Even when blitzing more often in the second half, the LA Chargers’ defensive line was able to get no pressure, and the secondary was not able to keep receivers covered long enough to make Tom Brady hold on to the football.

Good, bad and ugly in loss to Bucs. Next

With a limited Joey Bosa and no Melvin Ingram or Chris Harris, this defense is hurting. While they should be better next week, we cannot expect them to be the dominating presence that they were in the first three weeks.

Verdict #5: Not an overreaction