Now this is what I’m talking about. The GM Tom Telesco and the Chargers were able to bring back one of, if not the most important internal FA this off season.
Chargers agreed to terms with safety Adrian Phillips. “We’re very happy to have him back,” said GM Tom Telesco— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) March 15, 2019
Bringing back Adrian Phillips is a huge win for this team, and a great move. Phillips was, at this point, one of the best Safeties still on the FA market. He really came into his own last season.
I will be the first to admit, early on in Phillips’ career, I was one of his biggest critics. I thought he was just bad and couldn’t understand why the staff kept saying things like “he’s one of the smartest guys we have on defense” or talking about how he is one of the best players on the field in practice. I just didn’t see it on the field.
Fast forward to 2018 and Adrian Phillips played his ass off. He finished the season with 94 tackles (65 solo), 4 TFL, 9 PD, 1 INT, and 1 FF. He stacked up all those numbers on only 7 starts. That outstanding season earned him not only a Pro-Bowl spot, but also 1st team All-Pro. And it wasn’t even all on defense, he was a special teams demon this year and a leader on that unit.
Phillips has used his excellent football IQ to become an amazingly versatile chess piece that defensive coordinator Gus Bradley used all over the field, which was especially helpful when the Chargers had lost so many LBs that Anthony Lynn was getting fitted for pads. And when I say all over the field, here’s what I mean:
Snap counts lined up at different positions:
DL - 17
BOX (SS/LB) - 658
Slot Corner - 41
Wide Corner - 7
Free Safey - 79
Losing Phillips, especially after releasing Jahleel Addae, would have put the Chargers defense in a pretty tough spot. Keeping Phillips helps stop the hole at S from becoming a canyon, and helps the Chargers while they figure out whats going on at LB this year. It’s also a great move because it shows that the Chargers can actually develop good players and when they do develop, they’ll get rewarded.
All eyes now turn to Damion Square and Darius Philon to see if TT can bring back at least one of them to the rapidly shrinking DL group.