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BFTB Mailbag: Derwin James or Desmond King for defensive MVP?

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Los Angeles Chargers v Oakland Raiders Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

I’m not surprised to see this question pop up at this point in the season. It’s understandable after following a offseason that was chalk-full of pundits and analysts, alike, staking the claim that the Chargers’ had the best group of wide receivers heading into the 2018 season.

However, that claim is losing some footing after three-straight weeks of single-catch performances for Mike Williams prior to last Sunday’s zero-target game versus the Oakland Raiders.

After a slow start to the season, Tyrell Williams has definitely upped his productivity/efficiency and Keenan Allen finally got back into the endzone for the first time since week 1 against the Chiefs.

Are the Chargers’ wideouts really overrated? I personally do not think so. In fact, I think it comes down to a few key stats.

The Chargers are near the top of the league in terms of total offense per game but find themselves near the middle or bottom in passing statistics such as Passing Attempts Per Game, Total Passing Attempts, and Passing Yard Per Game where they rank 30th (out of 32), 24th, and 13th, respectively.

So it is not so much that the Chargers’ wideouts are underperforming but that the team hasn’t thrown it nearly as much as some of the other top teams. With Melvin performing at such a high rate on the ground, Rivers hasn’t been asked to sling it nearly as much as Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees, or Jared Goff.

Pancakes, fasho.

Also, I still think Derwin James has a lead on Desmond King as the team’s defensive MVP. King has the interceptions and the lone pick-6, but James has the better all-around stats. He has an interception to his name, 3.5 sacks, and he leads the team in tackles.

As a rookie safety, you can’t get much better than that.

Honestly, I don’t think anything with this game, good or bad, would cause me to lose faith in this team for the rest of the season. Even if it was a blowout, I would not lose faith. Would I be extremely pissed and use every ditry, filthy, disgusting word in the dictionary to help myself vent my frustration? No s***.

But after seeing the Buffalo Bills embarrass the Minnesota Vikings at Minnesota earlier this season, I gotta keep in mind that crazy things can happen any given Sunday.

My worst case scenario for this game, however, would be a complete shutdown of the run defense. Case Keenum is not going to put the team on his back in this one. If the Broncos are looking for a victory, it will have to be delivered on the back of Phillip Lindsay. I don’t know how plausible that scenario since the Broncos are now down one of their starting guards and center for the foreseeable future.

As I look over the Broncos’ roster, I don’t see many glaring holes within it. With a top-ten pick, teams will usually look for the important positions such as quarterback, offensive tackle, edge rusher, and cornerback. However, the Broncos are fairly solid at all these spots (minus QB but that can’t be my choice).

I think the Broncoswould be wise to take one of the top OTs in the draft in order to groom behind Jared Veldheer as the former Arizona Cardinal is currently on the wrong side of 30.

A guy like Alabama’s Jonah Williams or Ole Miss’ Greg Little would be an excellent choice. While Williams has a higher floor, Little would provide elite athleticism for the position and most of his issues can be coached up once he is out of the Rebel’s pass-happy offense.

I wouldn’t mind this move, actually. Adrian Phillips has grown in his role as that dime linebacker after his first season seeing major action in 2017. He looks like he put on some weight and better prepared his body for the things the coaches have asked of him.

It is such a shame to see Kyzir White slowly disappear into irrelevancy following a bright start to the season but Phillips has done a phenomenal job of allowing the defense to not skip a beat. Now without MLB Denzel Perryman on the year, the middle of the Chargers’ defense is going to look much lighter going forward. LB Jatavis Brown is only 225 pounds and Hayes Pullard is not much more at 230.

If the linebacking core is going to get smaller regardless, I’d prefer to gain some extra MPHs, in return.