The Chargers have a struggling pass rushing unit. Why has it declined and what can they do going forward to remedy the issues?
The pass rushing efficiency hasn’t been quite at the level that the Chargers had become used to in recent years. Sacks are down this year, but so is pass rush win rate (PRWR). The Chargers were 11th in win rate last year, but find themselves at 18th in 2020.
There are players that have missed multiple games at points this season, including Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa, and Justin Jones. The problems with pass rush are bigger than any one individual player though.
Melvin Ingram’s injury and regression
Ingram’s play over the course of the 2020 season will be a hot topic during the offseason. He’s on an expiring contract and would need an extension to return in 2021.
A knee injury knocked Ingram out for three games earlier in the season. It’s clear that he hasn’t been quite the same since. Gus Bradley has tried moving Ingram inside and outside to try to manufacture more pressure, as was evident in the game against Jacksonville.
In 2019, #54 had 47 pressures, eight sacks, 35 hurries, and 36 tackles in 13 games. If you project Ingram’s current numbers at the same 13 game pace this year, he would finish with 52 pressures, zero sacks, 39 hurries, and 14 tackles.
Those numbers demonstrate that Ingram is doing a decent job with pressures and hurries as a whole, but isn’t quite finishing snaps they way he should. Sacks and tackles are in for a dramatic decline this season, even if he were to step it up in the last six games.
Simply put, Ingram’s injury, age, and efficiency have all contributed to a down year for the star edge rusher. The only way I see it getting much better in potential future seasons with the Chargers is if he were to take fewer snaps or a lesser role. That’s unlikely to happen though, unless his market is much drier than expected. Edge rusher is always needed at a premium.
The real way the Chargers remedy this is unfortunately moving on from Ingram in the offseason. The 2021 draft is rich with edge prospects like Kwity Paye, Gregory Rousseau, and quite a few others. 2021’s free agency class has quite a few names that would be interesting to try out. The Chargers also have Uchenna Nwosu.