Yesterday was a painful one, Bolts From the Blue.
“In the NFL, you can’t allow the run game to get going, because that’s what sets up the play action, it sets up - you gotta defend the screens, play action, everything.”
Derwin James Jr. took media questions after the loss, and once again expressed disappointment with how the defense operated. Derwin started the interview highlighting the importance of stopping the run, a concept that Brandon Staley deprioritizes in favor of flooding passing lanes with extra defensive backs. Although Brandon Staley has repeatedly reminded the media of the run defense’s statistical improvements from where it was in his first two years - it continues to fall apart against strong opponents and offenses.
An aggravated Staley defended his scheme in the postgame conference. When asked if it’s fair to assume adjustments to his scheme and defensive philosophy are needed to correct the same weaknesses that have plagued the Chargers since his arrival, he stated:
“Well we made a lot of improvements in our run game, we’re a top-six run defense coming into this game. Played plenty of good backs to back it up, plenty of good backs. We’ve improved on third down, our sack numbers have improved, our red zone numbers have improved, the passing game has been something that hasn’t been good enough, and we’re a work in progress in that area.”
What Staley didn’t address is why the run defense continues to let the Chargers down when they need it most, and how receivers continue to run free in his defensive backfield.
And now, for today’s daily links:
Daniel Popper lays down a scorching article, pointing out the same concepts and plays continue to beat Staley’s defense in key moments (The Athletic)
Eric Smith provides a lighter, more optimistic summary of the Lions game (Chargers.com)
Wade Phillips hops on X to question what’s gone wrong with the Chargers’ defense (Bolt Beat)
Here are some of the top social media engagements regarding the Chargers loss (Chargers Wire)
Josh Dobbs continues his incredible season by leading the Vikings to their fifth consecutive win (NFL.com)
Kyler Murray comes back strong in his first game returning from his ACL injury, leads Cardinals to a win (NFL.com)
Christian McCaffrey’s touchdown streak ends, but so does 49ers three-game losing streak (ESPN)
A record five games concluded with a walk-off field goal in Week 10 (ESPN)
Could C.J. Stroud play his way into the MVP conversation? (Sporting News)
Are the Bills no longer locks to make the postseason? (Sporting News)