Good morning, Chargers fans!
After a Week 9 walkover win against the New York Jets, where the Chargers’ defense turned the ball over three times and the offense kept a clean game, Brandon Staley’s men in blue now are tied at the top of the league turnover differential at +9. Kellen Moore’s offense have committed only six turnovers all season, joint second lowest, whilst the defense has hauled in an impressive 15 turnovers, joint third most, including a league leading nine fumble recoveries. These numbers are a testament to the coaching staff making the ball a priority in all three phases. In my eyes this is a welcome introduction to the new identity of Staley’s team. He has often talked about “complementary football” but before this week there had been no clear sign of it actually existing, now I think we are starting to see it through a defense that is utilising its talents and a special teams unit that is rounding out as one of the most efficient in the league.
Staley came in as a defensive minded head coach but they were anything but that in the first two seasons of his tenure, with an explosive offense but a stagnant defense that didn’t know what its identity was, other than trying to be the 2021 Los Angeles Rams. This season, however, Staley and his staff have clearly prioritised the front seven, ensuring they both pressure the passer on third downs and stop the run with an impressive, and underrated, odd front on early downs. Yet this has come at the cost on the backend where his secondary are giving up a league leading 286 passing yards per game and allowing the third highest explosive passing plays per game. This dichotomy is polarizing for fans, with some preferring a balanced style of defense and others welcoming the more explosive one despite its ups and down.
When you have a big armed quarterback and a whole cast of offensive weapons you naturally want to win stretching a lead that your defense has successfully surpressed. That is a solid method for setting your team up for consistent success. This has been how the Chargers have tried to operate for many years but it never pans out as it relies heavily on consistent offensive success which is something all teams in the league have struggled for over the last two seasons. Over the course of this season so far, the Chargers have actually fallen into a new way of trying to win. They are getting the ball off of opponents and punishing these mistakes with efficient, if not flashy, putaway drives as well as relying on the special teams unit to capitaise on any opportunities the defense creates too. I think we can all agree there is room for growth on the offensive side of the equation but the bones are there and any kind of uptick in run game execution could see a well rounded team appear at exactly the right time of year.
I am of the opinion that whilst this may not be the style that Brandon Staley set out to play this season but it is one that has been proven to win superbowls. Our Bolts have tried the other way so many times and come up short, so to have a tough and ruthless team led by the defense would be something I’d relish. So the question is can this style of football be sustainable? Is there enough juice in this front seven to turn the ball all the way to the playoffs and beyond? Let us know what you think in the comments.
And now, for today’s daily links:
Tom Telesco apologised to the team for giving J.C. Jackson chances when he wasn’t showing the same level of committment as they were (Sports Illustrated)
Chargers don’t move the needle in the post Week 9 power rankings despite dominant win over the Jets (Chargers Wire)
A successful game for the defense sees the Chargers go joint top in the league in turnover margin (Sports Illustrated’s Chargers Report)
The Chargers’ players are finally having fun having secured two wins in a row after Derrick Ansley’s celebration committee was formed (Bolt Beat)
Aaron Rodgers says was kidding when he said he could return in a few weeks (LA Times)
With Matthew Stafford set to miss some time, the Los Angeles Rams have signed Carson Wentz after Brett Rypien struggles against the Broncos (CBS NFL)
The Cowboys have orchestrated a surprising return for wide receiver Martavis Bryant as they signed him to their practice squad after his reinstatement (NFL.com)
Mike Vrable names rookie Will Levis as the Titan’s starting quarteback going forwards (NFL.com)
The Chargers are considered the biggest threat to Kansas City in the AFC West, being described “Dangerous but unpredictable” (ESPN)
Panthers sign linebacker Blake Martinez on his return to the league following a brief retirement during which he was caught up in a Pokemon card scandal (ESPN)