3. More versatile defensive looks
The Chargers’ injuries on defense have made it difficult to run the usual zone heavy Gus Bradley scheme. Unlike some of the players with short term injuries that could be back after the bye, Chris Harris, Drue Tranquill, and Derwin James aren’t returning anytime soon. Those injuries have forced substitutions that haven’t necessarily worked.
Michael Davis is playing the second cornerback role again without Harris in the lineup. He was ruthlessly picked apart by Tom Brady in 2nd half against Tampa Bay. Emmanuel Sanders didn’t make him look too good either.
Tranquill was supposed to be dropping back in coverage this season, but his absence has forced Kenneth Murray and Kyzir White to pick up the load there.
Murray is still learning coverage schemes since he wasn’t asked to play much of it at Oklahoma while White has been picked on by opposing quarterbacks on a number of occasions. Rayshawn Jenkins has been mediocre in replacing James at strong safety.
There won’t be a time this season where the Chargers are 100% on the defensive side of the ball when it comes to health. Adapting to that, the Chargers have to mix it up a little bit. Zone schemes can’t be so prevalent without the right pieces.
More blitzes to manufacture more pressure could prove to be effective. More man coverage could’ve helped the team against New Orleans in particular. In any event, the Chargers have to be more creative on defense after the bye.