Yesterday the BFTB group gave our thoughts on which offensive players we were most looking forward to watching this Sunday against the Seahawks. Today it’s time to turn our focus to the defensive side of the ball.
Jamie Hoyle: On defense, I'll be keeping an eye on Darius Philon, Dexter McCoil, and Adrian McDonald. As far as Philon goes, I think he could benefit from a move inside (3-tech) in Bradley's system and am curious to see whether or not he's developed any pass rush moves heading into his third season. With McCoil, I want to see how he's deployed (box safety?) and how his recognition skills have evolved after his first year in the NFL. While I don't expect McDonald to make the roster, I want to see if he can make enough of an impact on special teams and with the second team defense to at least force the coaches into a difficult decision.
Garrett Sisti: There are a group of corners behind Hayward and Verrett who will need to win jobs in the preseason and they include: Craig Mager, Trevor Williams, Trovon Reed and Michael Davis. Each player has been making some good plays in camp, some more than others, but it'll really count when they hit the playing field. That's 4 guys with only 2 slots open, 3 of those players making the 53 is doubtful.
Nathan Graber-Lipperman: On defense, Tom Telesco’s annual sneaky-good pickup has me excited, and that's Tre Boston. If he can come in and make half the impact Casey Hayward did last year, it'll do wonders for a safety group that hasn't been good in years. Should Boston impress this season and Addae live up to the contract the Bolts somehow rewarded him, the back end will finally have two guys that added together might even add up to the same production as Eric Weddle in his worst years.
Richard Wade: On defense, I will be watching Isaac Rochell. He stood out to me at the Rams scrimmage and I want to see what he can do in live game action. It would be great if he could force his way onto the roster and shore up the defensive line depth.
Derrick Browne: On defense, I'll be watching every pass-rusher not named Bosa or Ingram. I still have questions about the depth behind those two so I'll be looking to see who steps up.
Ryan Doyle: I'm going with Isaac Rochell. I hope he can find a spot at the back end of the defensive line depth chart. I think he has work to do, but if he shows something in these early preseason games he could solidify a spot on the roster.
Jake Hefner: On defense, one player that has created a lot of buzz as of late has been Chris McCain. Signed to the Chargers practice squad last year, McCain was an undrafted free agent that had brief tenures with both the Saints and Dolphins over the past two seasons. Playing out of the LEO position, McCain has been making impressions since OTAs in May. Standing at 6'5, 236lbs, McCain stood out to me during the joint practice with the Rams this past Saturday at the StubHub center utilizing his speed and creating good pressure in the backfield. In Monday and Tuesday’s practice, McCain earned three “would be sacks” on the QB. The first unofficial depth chart has McCain third behind Melvin Ingram and Jeremiah Attaochu. McCain will have to continue to show similar results like he has in practice if he wants to see his name on the final 53.
Louis Gorini: On the defensive side I will be looking at the middle of the Chargers defensive line and if they can hold the point of attack against the run or generate some pass rush. Isaac Rochell is a player that has been generating some buzz so I will be looking at how he plays.
Roger Hinojosa: The secondary. It is tough to pinpoint one player to watch because of the amount of DBs competing for a job on this team. With the addition of Boston and some under the radar rookies, the battle for a role in the secondary should shake out to be something interesting.
Cody Young: I'll definitely be watching rookie Desmond King. I'm hoping he ends up with the CB3 role once the season opens up, and I can't wait to see what he looks like in game action.
Aaron Woolley: On D, I want to see what the Chargers saw in Rayshawn Jenkins. Was he worth the draft pick or will an undrafted free agent push him off the roster?
Ruben Gonzalez: I keep hearing about this guy named Michael Davis. I want to see how instinctive he plays the CB spot when he gets in. He has good size and speed, so the natural gifts are there. I wonder if he reminds Coach Bradley of a certain cornerback that he coached on the opposing sidelines? I hope he does.
Michael Peterson: I'm excited to watch the entire defense as a whole in the new scheme. More specifically, how the new defensive backs look (Boston + the rookies) and how the LBs look in their new roles.
Jamie Sewell: On defense, there's a few. I'm hoping for Kaleb Eulls to show something so that he can make the roster because he has an incredible story. Dexter McCoil's progression should be interesting, and the CB battle as a whole is going to be the main storyline in the preseason. The same person who could be the Chargers starting SCB in Week 1 could also not be on the roster by then. Jerry Attaochu needs to show that last year isn't going to repeat itself. Nigel Harris is my guy on defense for preseason, though. James Onwualu is the name that keeps getting mentioned, but I much prefer Nigel Harris as a linebacker. He's fast, he's physical, and I think he's going to beat out Nick Dzubnar for a roster spot.
Matthew Stanley: There is a lot to watch on defense, unfortunately, some of those questions will have to wait since the Starters won’t play much. So in this first game, I'll be watching how the CB group is doing. The battle for CB3-5 will be fun to watch and they should get a lot of action. I also want to see how Dexter McCoil is being used and overall how this new defense is going to function.
Let us know in the comments who you will be watching during the first preseason game.