4. Linval Joseph
There are several more players that we could include in this list but we wanted to highlight who is really important. At the end of the day, every role player is obviously important in their own regard, these are the players who are more important than the others.
These role players are also more volatile than other role players. For example, Drue Tranquill is arguably just as important as Linval Joseph for many of the same reasons. However, as long as he is healthy, I think it is fair to expect more success from Tranquill than Joseph.
Joseph was solid for the Chargers last season and he has to escape the regression that impacts players over the age of 30. Joseph is entering the last season of his contract with the Bolts and he needs to play like it is a contract year and he is trying to get paid in the offseason.
The Chargers are likely moving to a 3-4 defense and having a run-stuffing nose tackle is extremely important. Justin Jones is fine but is not an every-down guy and Jerry Tillery is bad against the run and is not suited to be a 3-4 nose tackle. That is what makes Joseph so important.
The Chargers’ one big defensive flaw in recent years has been stopping the run and this year’s team does not necessarily project to be much better personnel-wise, it all depends on the coaching change.
If the Chargers are going to be better at stopping the run it is going to start with Linval Joseph.