Stopping the run has been a fairy sizable thorn in the size of the LA Chargers in recent years. While it hasn’t been a revolving door for opposing backs, it’s been inconsistent enough to the point where opponents have been able to control the clock a little too well against the Bolts.
With the addition of the hefty Linval Joseph, and the presumed progressions of youngsters Justin Jones and Jerry Tillery, there’s a sliver of optimism surrounding this unit heading into 2020.
In a set of recent position group rankings, ESPN’s Mike Clay has the Chargers’ interior defenders ranked 26th in the NFL. That’s good for seventh-worst. Yet at the same time, Clay highlights them as his “Unit to Watch” this season.
“Defensive tackle has been a problem area for the Chargers for several seasons, but the team is hoping the signing of 31-year-old Linval Joseph will be Step 1 in the road to recovery,” says Clay. “There’s plenty of pedigree behind him in the form of 2019 first-round pick Jerry Tillery and 2018 third-rounder Justin Jones, though both remain unproven commodities.”
Many feel that Joseph might be on the downhill slope after some regression in Minnesota last season but that was likely due to the coaching staff being a little more proactive about seeing what they had in their younger players at the position. Joseph mentioned in an interview shortly after signing with L.A. that the Vikings staff actually told him this was the reason he didn’t play as much on all three downs.
But out west, Joseph said he’s been told he’ll have plenty of opportunities to pin his ears backs on obvious passing situations. Here’s to hoping that reinvigorates the veteran.
As for TIllery and Jones, the two combined for just two sacks across 15 combined starts. Oh, and both of those were from Tillery. Jones managed just two tackles-for-loss and a forced fumble. When it comes to these two, the Chargers will be hoping for a simultaneous breakout season from the both of them. I don’t know how great the chances are of that happening, but it’s needed nonetheless.
And here are today’s links.
Anthony Lynn discusses the Bolts’ young backfield (Chargers.com)
Steve Wyche joins Chris Hayre on the latest episode of Chargers Weekly (Chargers.com)
Jason Reed lists the five greatest offenses in Chargers history (Bolt Beat)
Dan Graziano discusses all of the fallout from the opt-out deadline (ESPN)
Tim Keown highlights QB Jarrett Stidham’s supreme confidence (ESPN)
See how George Kittle went from D-1 afterthought to All-Pro tight end (Bleacher Report)
Christian McCaffrey says he’d draft himself first in fantasy football this year (Bleacher Report)
Jared Dubin gives us three teams who missed the 2019 playoffs who should make the cut this year (CBS Sports)