The LA Chargers made Corey Linsley the highest-paid center in NFL history prior to the 2021 season. Linsley was coming off of an All-Pro season with the Green Bay Packers and was widely considered to be one of the best centers in the NFL.
Linsley did not disappoint in his first season with the Bolts as he continued to play at a high level snapping the ball to Justin Herbert. While he was not a First Team All-Pro for the second year in a row, he was named a Second Team All-Pro and Pro Bowler for his efforts.
Linsley has been a key part of the offensive line rebuild that has been transpiring over the last two seasons. Tom Telesco and Brandon Staley had to execute a similar rebuild on the defensive side of the trenches as well this past spring. The run defense was horrid last season and it had a ripple effect that ultimately resulted in the team missing the playoffs.
One of the big additions that the team made to the defensive line is nose tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day. Joseph-Day has been really good the last two seasons (consisting of 23 games played) and has been stout against the run. Linsley has already taken notice of Joseph-Day's ability in training camp and heaped massive praise on the former LA Ram.
Linsley has seen a lot and has lined up against a lot of elite nose tackles in his day. For him to say that Joseph-Day is one of the best... that is special.
Improving the run defense would be huge for the Chargers and it starts with Sebastian Joseph-Day
The NFL might be a passing league in 2022 and for that reason, it might not seem as big of a deal that the Chargers were so bad against the run last season. Anyone that watched the team last season knows that it was a massive deal.
Teams could get essentially whatever they wanted on the ground against the Bolts. It was easy to slash that defense for 4-5 yards per carry on first and second down, setting up extremely easy third downs to convert. That is why the Chargers had the worst defensive third-down rate in the league.
That is not going to win football games.
Heck, if the Chargers just had an average run defense they definitely would have been in the playoffs last season. The team would not have gotten torched and embarrassed by Rex Burkhead and the Texans. LA probably would have beat the Raiders as well, as Vegas would not have been able to simply run the ball down LA's teeth to win the game in overtime.
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This is a massive dynamic for the Chargers to fix and while Khalil Mack is the bigger name that has been added, Sebastian Joseph-Day is the most important player on the team when it comes to shoring up the run defense.