Overreaction #3: The Los Angeles Chargers defense needs to be retooled to stop running quarterbacks
The Los Angeles Chargers have had a hard time against running quarterbacks in 2020, including some not known to be that mobile.
When the Chargers defense faces a running quarterback, no third down really seems that unlikely to convert. Mahomes and Mariota in particular abused the Chargers defense late in games when placed in difficult situations with their legs.
So what is wrong with the Chargers defense that is causing the team to do so poorly against running quarterbacks? Do the Chargers need to get new players to stop running quarterbacks, or is it a scheme issue preventing the team from stopping these players?
Theoretically, Gus Bradley’s zone-happy defense should be quite conducive to stopping running quarterbacks. With defenders being in zone coverage, they should be capable of turning their attention from the receivers to the quarterback quickly.
Furthermore, while running a 4-3 defense means one less relatively “speedy” linebacker to stop a running quarterback, it helps to contain a quarterback in the pocket.
Additionally, the Chargers have the linebackers on the field that they should want stopping a running quarterback. Kenneth Murray and Kyzir White (a former safety) are two relatively quick and athletic linebackers who should be quite capable of stopping a running quarterback.
So, what is the issue here?
In previous games, game-planning has been a serious issue. In previous games, a quarterback spy may have been an ideal use of a defender. However, the Chargers had no opportunity to prepare for Marcus Mariota in this game.
The two primary issues in this game were tackling and coaching.
Clearly, a lack of awareness that the quarterback is an option to run is a fault in coaching. However, a lack of tackling ability was also a noteworthy issue in this game.
So, on the good side, this is not a personnel issue. On the bad side, there is significant coaching and improvement that will need to occur to solve this problem in future seasons.
Verdict #3: Overreaction