Per Pro Football Focus, the San Diego Chargers were 28th in pass rushing productivity when blitzing and 23rd when rushing four. The takeaway there is that the Chargers were mediocre-to-bad when rushing four and were one of the worst teams in football at creating pressure via the blitz. Luckily for the Chargers, there are likely to be a handful of real pass rushers available in free agency this offseason.
Before we go any further, if you haven't read the truly excellent Top 25 Free Agents the Chargers Should Sign (and parts 2, 3, 4, and 5) by Kyle Posey and Kevin Grauel, go and do that now. I'll wait.
The easiest ay to fix a bad pass rush is to add a superlative edge rusher. The gold standard for that in this year's free agent market is the Kansas City Chiefs' outside linebacker Justin Houston. He's not only an excellent rusher, Houston is a very solid all-around player. There's also a very real chance he won't reach free agency.
The Chiefs are going to have some decisions to make about where to spend their limited cap space and they wouldn't be wrong to look for a way to retain Houston. If he does reach free agency, he's going to be one of the most highly compensated in this year's class. He's the dream, but maybe not the most realistic.
What does that leave? Plenty, actually. The Ravens' Pernell McPhee and Eagles' Brandon Graham are both just now hitting their prime but they are more role players than every-down players which means they're less likely to command huge money on the open market. Role players or not, both would represent substantial improvements to the Chargers' anemic pass rush.
And there's always the reclamation project route: Brian Orakpo. You won't find the former Geico spokesman on Kevin and Kyle's list, but if the price is right and his physicals check out, Orakpo is an intriguing option.
There also has to be some hope that Melvin Ingram and Jerry Attaochu will improve under the tutelage of new linebackers coach Mike Nolan, but that isn't something the club can realistically count on to cure all that ails the pass rush. Both players are also seriously injury prone.
The only thing that's really clear is that there are multiple paths forward to improve the Chargers' pass rushing weakness and Tom Telesco needs to be aggressive in pursuing at least one of them.