A great pass rush is consistently one of the hallmarks for a great football team. Getting after and affecting the opposing quarterback on a consistent basis is a key ingredient in the recipe for success. That’s a big reasons why the LA Chargers always seem to have high expectations every offseason. As long as Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are on the field together, big plays can be made.
In the latest article by Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton, he ranked the league’s seven best pass-rush duos heading into 2020 and the Chargers’ pair of quarterback hunters was slotted as the number two duo in NFL, only behind the Steelers’ TJ Watt and Cameron Heyward.
To be fair, Bosa and Ingram haven’t met or surpassed the performances of the two pairs ranked behind them in recent years. Last year, third-ranked Green Bay duo of Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith combined for 25.5 sacks. Fourth-ranked Von Miller and Bradley Chubb combined for 26.5 in 2018. During those same seasons, Bosa and Ingram combined for 18.5 and 12.5, respectively. The kicker here is that Ingram missed three games in 2019 while Bosa missed nine in 2018. If they both played 16 full games, like the other players did, would their numbers be the same or better? Maybe, maybe not.
While Moton acknowledges these facts, he wants to see another year of dominance from the Smiths before putting them above Bosa and Ingram.
“Since 2016, Bosa has recorded 40 sacks, which is tied for eighth and includes three double-digit campaigns,” Moton says. “In 2019, he listed third in quarterback pressures (54). Ingram has earned Pro Bowl honors in each of the last three terms in large part because of his presence near the pocket, registering 24.5 sacks during that stretch. Ingram’s numbers may not jump off the screen, but NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah broke down film to show how the “walk-around” defender helps create advantageous one-on-one matchups for Bosa.”
Ingram absolutely must raise his sack total in 2020 or he will surely be someone the Chargers choose to move on from after the season. His 7.5 sacks in each of the last two seasons are the lowest totals since his 2014. which was the last time he finished with less than eight.
Bosa was one sack shy of tying his career high and the lack of blitzing by Gus Bradley certainly didn’t do him any favors. Those 11.5 sacks from last season were some of the most “earned” sacks by any defensive lineman in 2019. In 2020, Bradley will have to drastically cut back on sending only four players if he wants to see his defense’s full potential while he still has a star-studded roster in front of him.