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Joey Bosa puts on a show in debut

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers are not very good at winning football games. We knew this before yesterday. There's nothing I'm going to tell you about this team or it's coach that you either haven't heard or don't know yourself. There was something different about this team on Sunday, thought. The defense got a shiny new toy to play with in 1st round pick, Joey Bosa. He only played 26 snaps, but it didn't take long to find out the caliber of player he was. So what did I do? I went back and graded each play how I've been taught. It's simple. You get a plus or a minus, and sometimes a "loaf." A loaf is if you're dogging it and not hustling. Those are no-no's. That's how you get chewed out in meeting rooms. I'm not going to go in depth on all 26 plays but I will highlight the best and worst plays then give you my overall thoughts. Let's get into how Bosa played.

Play 1-LOLB, 1 arm bullrush

Bosa comes out for his 1st play as a Charger and at first glance, you weren't sure what he was going to do. Usually pass rushers are taught to pick "half a man" of the offensive tackle and when with some sort of move. Here, Bosa goes right into the chest plate and as he does that, he extends 1 arm and walks the RT back into the quarterbacks lap.

Result: Plus

Play 2-ROLB, Sets the edge for a stop

This was interesting because all 4 outside linebackers were on the field at once. Jerry Attaochu and Bosa were lined up on the outside while Melvin Ingram and Kyle Emanuel were lined up in the middle. You’ll see in the clip below Bosa is at the top of the screen. He’s lined up wide outside of both tight ends to his side. He takes on the pulling offensive tackle, withstands the blow, is able to locate the ball carrier and assist for a stop.

This is a good football play by Ingram, Bosa, & Emanuel. It’s nice to see a linebacker not being content with setting the edge but also wanting to finish plays himself.

Result: Plus

Play 3: +

Play 4: - I thought it was a weak rip move to the outside. Bosa also didn’t clear his hips of the right offensive tackle.

Play 5: +

Play 6: -

Play 7: This is a wash since he wasn’t blocked. He was the “read” on the play.

Play 8: +

Play 9- Right defensive end: Crosses face of TE for TFL

The Raiders put their “blocking” TE, a 340 pound tackle on the field and Bosa was lined up over him and embarrassed him with quickness. The backup TE, who is on the field due to injuries, did not stand a chance.

Bosa is slanting towards the play and does a good job of continuing to work towards the flow of the play so Kirkland can’t get his hands on him. Then stops the play before it starts with a tackle for loss.

Play 10- Bosa shows impressive hand usage but fails to finish

From right defensive end again, Bosa beats one of the better left tackles in the game. If you watch his hands he stabs Donald Penn, slaps his hands down, then rips through to make sure he clears him. That’s textbook. This is the best pass rush of any Chargers rusher this season and I’m not being hyperbolic.

Problem: Hurries are stupid. Whenever I see hurries I obnoxiously roll my eyes. This play was a hurry. This play gained 15+ yards and a 1st down. You have to finish. Ingram had a play where he beat his man, hit Derek Carr, but they scored a long TD. If it’s not a sack then I don’t want to hear about it.

Bosa gets a plus here because of the stellar hand usage and how quickly he beats Penn, but he has to learn how to come under control. Play 6 he was out of control as well. He’ll learn what he can and can’t do. I’m not worried about this at all.

Play 11: -

Play 12-Playing with good pad level

I mentioned Penn being once of the better LT’s in the game. This rep against Bosa is a great example why. A defensive lineman isn’t going to win every rep. Hell, they’re not going to win 50% of the time. But consistency will lead to success. Here Bosa stands straight up as he goes to give Penn a head fake to the outside then tries to cross his face to the inside.

Penn’s feet were just too good here for Bosa to win. But you never want to get in the habit of exposing yourself like that. If he’s going to get past Penn with this move, he’s going to have to “get skinny” so Penn doesn’t have as much of a target to punch.

Result: -

Play 13: Clean up sack. Good job of playing to the whistle, however.

Result: Plus

Play 14: Wash. Screen

Play 15: Well, well, well

Bosa goes back to the same move as play 12. This time he does get skinny, and the result is much better this go round.

He is playing with better pad level this time, and does a better job of slapping Penn’s hands down so he can’t be redirected. Bosa doesn’t telegraph his move like he did a couple plays ago. I’d like to think of this as learning on the fly. Self-coaching.

Result: +

Play 16: Wash. Quick pass. Nobody had a chance to do anything

Play 17: 3rd & long from right defensive end, Bosa tries to rip to the outside against Penn. Again he gets too much of his entire frame instead of choosing that outer half like he did back on play 10. Penn is able to push him up field.

Result: -

Play 18: Same, this time tries to spin off too late to no avail.

Result: -

Play 19: Wash. Is on a stunt and ball is out before he can do anything.

Play 20: Attempts to bull-rush Penn. Nope.

Result: -

Play 21: He shows good flexibility by beating a cut block. This is another “hurry”, I’m guessing. This was also the 4th & 2 play for a TD.

Result: +

Play 22: 2nd play in a row from left defensive end. Gets tackled by the TE after crossing his face. Really bad no call here. Wow. 14:15 in the 4th quarter if you’re wondering.

Result: +

Play 23: +

Play 24: +


Bosa, rushing from defensive left end, shows what happens when he chooses half of a man instead of going into their entire frame.

I like how it’s not just a rip here. There’s a club to get the tackles hands off him so he can rip. Nice push by Liuget so Carr can’t step up anywhere and Bosa is able to come around and finish. Bosa is so advanced with his hands that he is going to win early and often in his career. The fact he finished twice in 20 pass rushing snaps is a testament to that. This play gave the Chargers a chance to win.

Result: +

Play 26: -

Star In the making?

Without a doubt. He did things Attaochu and Ingram still don’t do as pass rushers, like using their hands or getting extension against the run. I would guess Bosa only played 20 some odd snaps due to a combination of this being his 1st game and a short turn around on Thursday, where I’d imagine they double his workload. Does Bosa have room to improve? No doubt. This was a great test against one of the best left tackles and he passed with flying colors. Once he figures out what he can get away with in this league, and is able to beat up on lesser opponents, like the great ones do, Bosa should make a name for himself.

In a season where there’s not much to look forward to, Bosa provided a glimmer of hope for Charger fans moving forward. This kid can play.