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Jerry Attaochu turning into the pass rusher the Chargers desperately need

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Even though injuries have still slowed him down, Jerry Attaochu is turning into a formidable pass rusher. A pass rusher the Chargers so desperately need. He has 4 sacks in 5 games. Sacks matter.

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

I hate when people reference pressures. You know what a "pressure" is? When you get in the backfield, cause the QB to step up in the pocket, and still give up a completion. Philip Rivers is "pressured" all-the time. That doesn't affect the top QBs. Honestly, even "QB hits" can be overstated. Let's go back a week to Monday Night Football. Attaochu beats the TE and blasts Mike Vick. The result of the play? A 72 yard TD.

Sacks matter.

If you haven't seen it before, the table below represents how many times the player has beaten his man — a win. How many times he's recorded a "stop", then a tackle for loss, a QB hit, and a sack. The tackle rarely tells the entire story. That's more of an indicator how active a player is. Here's how Attaochu has fared compared to his teammates, sans week 1 since he didn't play.

Player Snaps Tackle Missed Win Stop TFL QB Hit Sack
Attaochu 217 17 14 5 2 4 4
Ingram 301 11.5 3 14 6 3.5 4 1.5
Liuget 248 15 2 19 9 1.5 1
Reyes 187 7 3 8 5 2 4

So in 84 fewer snaps, Attaochu has been more active as a tackler, beat his man as many times, and been much more productive than Melvin Ingram. Without trying to slight Ingram, the simplest way to put this is Attaochu is a better finisher. Just like Sunday, it all starts with his effort.

Both of Attaochu's sacks came off 2nd and 3rd moves where he is going full speed through the whistle. Attaochu is still without a signature move, but he has the 1st step that you cannot teach. Below, he is against the best left tackle in the game.

Quite a few of Attaochu's wins come from when he is stunting or twisting to the inside using his athleticism to beat the OL to a spot.

Though he didn't pick up a sack, this is certainly a "win" for Attaochu. Here's another look at the kind of closing speed Attaochu brings to the table.

What's been the surprising part about Attaochu's game early on is him not being a liability against the run. Those 5 stops are a good number for someone who is playing on the weak side of the formation. Even though he is usually on the wrong side of the formation, crazy things happen when you play until the whistle. The effort you see below is how he picks up those stops.

Attaochu is lined up over the TE to the right side and does an excellent job of not letting the TE cross his face. That effort is why he has more tackles than anyone listed in the table. Like Corey Liuget, you see him sprinting full speed downfield. He's also done a better job of holding his ground when teams do run at him for the most part. There's been progress in his game this year.

These effort plays are great. However, I'd still like to see Attaochu develop a signature move. There are often times where if it's not winning with pure speed then he's not going to win. With how fast he can get the offensive tackle to "open the gate", I'd like to see a spin back to the inside, or like the vine above against Joe Thomas, just a quick counter step to the inside. I know he has these in his arsenal, because he's shown us. He just sticks to what he kows which is pure speed. A little more nuance is something that I'll be looking for as he develops. For example, bull rushing:

This is an extreme example to the bottom of the screen as Attaochu ends up staring at the stars by the end of the play. This is not his forte. He tried to bullrush a few different times and the result was him in a stalemate. This is a waste of a rush. With Attaochu being a speed rusher, turn that into some sort of move where you're using your hands to keep yourself clean and your speed to get around the tackle. That's where the nuance will come into play. Hopefully sooner than later.

This season Attaochu is still outplaying his teammates. He's getting to the quarterback. More importantly, he's finishing. It's premature to say Attaochu is the pass rusher the team has lacked since lights out, but he's certainly treading that way. The speed and 1st step is there. The effort is awesome. Now it's just about taking his game to the next level. If he continues to play at the current level he's playing, it's only a matter of time before that happens.