Comeback player of the year: Forrest Lamp, Guard
James was lined up to take this award this season, and it would have been a landslide. But instead, there are two other choices: Nasir Adderley and Forrest Lamp. Both of the former second-round draft picks missed most of the 2019 season.
Adderley played in the first couple of games on special teams and then the team ultimately shut him down for the year. He took a lot of heat about not being able to play through the injury but in the offseason, we learned that the hamstring injury he was dealing with was much more severe than initially thought.
And since the team could only activate a certain amount of players off injured reserve last year, they chose to focus on James and Adrian Phillips.
Adderley’s play on the field has been a bit of a mixed bag. He’s shown flashes of being a future turnover causing machine, but he’s also struggled to consistently make tackles in space. His missed tackle on Phillip Lindsay sparked the Denver comeback last week.
On Sunday he almost sealed a Chargers victory when he came up just short of intercepting Carr in the third quarter. In the end, he is still going through growing pains and is too consistent to be given this award.
Instead, it will go to Lamp. We are finally seeing a healthy season for him and it’s been fun to watch. He’s improved quite a lot as well and particularly is a much smarter player. He still needs to get stronger but he’s been the team’s best and most consistent offensive linemen through eight games.
He hasn’t allowed a sack yet this season and has only given up twelve pressures. Considering he allowed 10 pressures in essentially three games in 2019, that is a big improvement from last year.
The left guard spot allowed 40 pressures in 2019 for the Chargers and with Lamp manning the position this year, it’s on pace for only 24. He’s playing well for this team and has earned the right to a second contract in Los Angeles.
Best Non-Quarterback Offseason Addition: Linval Joseph, Defensive Tackle
The Chargers signed Linval Joseph in the offseason because they needed a playmaker at the nose tackle position. Brandon Mebane was a player clearly past his prime in Los Angeles, but he stuck around because of his leadership qualities.
His best season in terms of pass-rushing output for the Chargers came in 2016, when he accumulated 16 pressures and two sacks. In 2018 he had a bit of a resurgence in the run game when he had 26 tackles and 15 stops, but he was still a shadow of his former self.
Enter the former Vikings defensive tackle looking for a fresh start. The Vikings are clearly in a transition period and they wanted to see what they had in some younger defensive linemen behind Joseph.
Over the last two years for Minnesota, he recorded 18 pressures in both 2019 and 2018. So far through eight games in Los Angeles, he has accumulated 16 pressures.
He doesn’t have a sack just yet, but he’s come very close on various occasions. For comparison’s sake, Mebane had 24 pressures COMBINED over the last three seasons for the Chargers. The self-proclaimed “Big Goon” has been a big-time upgrade for this Chargers team.