LA Chargers training camp has been underway for over a week now and we have gotten our first look at what the team could look like in 2021.
Of course, we will not get our first real look at the team in action until its first preseason game on August 14 against the Los Angeles Rams. Even that is not a complete indication of the defense, which we will get our first completely accurate taste of in Week 1 against the Washington Football Team.
The Washington Football Team has a stellar defense and anyone who knows anything about the NFL would rank them among the five-best defensive teams in the league. The LA Chargers do not have that standing in the league, although some are already believing in the Bolts.
ESPN's Sam Acho, who formerly played in the NFL, ranked his top-five defenses heading into the 2021 season with several usual suspects. The Baltimore Ravens ranked first followed by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington and the Chargers.
When questioned about it, Acho doubled-down on the Chargers, pointing to new head coach Brandon Staley and his previous impact in the league.
The LA Chargers absolutely could have a top-five defense in the NFL
Nothing is guaranteed in the league but it seems like a guarantee that Brandon Staley will be a better head coach than Anthony Lynn and will also make the defense better as a result.
Current players have not been shy in sharing how the old defense did not put them in positions to succeed and that things have been different in practice with Staley. This is an extremely positive sign.
The Chargers have the talent to be a top-five defense in the league. They have a similar 1-2 superstar duo in Joey Bosa and Derwin James that the Rams had with Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. Throw in Kenneth Murray, who should take a huge step, and the Chargers should have three bonafide Pro Bowlers on defense.
More importantly, there is talent there around the stars that have not yet been utilized. The Rams had several of these players before Staley took over and they thrived in his system, some (like John Johnson) getting big contracts this offseason as a result.
The players still need to go out on the field and execute but based on his track record and the changes we are seeing on paper, the Chargers' defense should be a formidable one in 2021.
This should set the team up nicely to be a true Super Bowl dark horse. If the LA Chargers manage to have a top-five defense in the league while also having an offense led by Justin Herbert, Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler then the rest of the league should be put on notice.