LA Chargers Week 12 Overreactions: Justin Herbert figured out?

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(Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

Overreaction #2: The Defense is not ready to operate without Denzel Perryman

In recent weeks, Denzel Perryman has looked like the clear second-best player on the team, behind Joey Bosa (who had another monster game).

Last week, we commented that while Perryman has been great, we do not have enough evidence of improvement, durability, and versatility from Perryman to pay him like a starter in free agency next year.

This week, Perryman suffered a back injury near the mid-point of the first half, and we saw what the defense looks like without him.

In short, the answer was not good.

Kenneth Murray appeared to take over Perryman’s role as the anchor and signal-caller of the defense, while Nick Vigil came in to take over Perryman’s spot.

In terms of the play on the field, the impact plays that Perryman brings were clearly sorely missing. Nick Vigil is a fairly solid, reliable linebacker, but he is rarely an impact playmaker in the way that Perryman is.

Hopefully, Kenneth Murray can grow into being the playmaking force that he was at Oklahoma, but he is clearly not there yet. On several plays where Murray got the chance to go downhill (his specialty), he hesitated and was not sure what to do.

Furthermore, it appeared that Murray was a bit slow with the calls on defense, as the unit clearly appeared a bit disjointed after Perryman left.

It is absolutely not an overreaction to say that this defense in its current form is not ready to play football without Denzel Perryman.

There are multiple things that can change this next year, particularly either mental growth in Kenneth Murray or the return of Drue Tranquill. However, without those two things, the Chargers defense is without a good communicator and linebacker centerpiece when Denzel Perryman is out.

Verdict #2: Not an overreaction