The free-agency period has been good one way or another for every NFL team. Hence, it’s time to take a look at the positives in our newest series for End Zone Score. Which newcomer to the club was the franchise’s best offseason move and why? We are getting things started with the 2016 last-place teams in the eight divisions. We have already previewed the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers. And that means the Los Angeles Chargers are now in the spotlight.
Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley
It was a time for a change when it came to this franchise. And no, we are not talking about the Chargers’ decision to “return” to Los Angeles (longtime American Football League fans will remember that the team played its debut season in the city in 1960). Anthony Lynn is the team’s new head coach and inherits a club that own a combined 9-23 record the past two seasons. And one-time Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coach Gus Bradley, once the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks, will now run that side of the football for the Bolts. The club will convert to a base 4-3 defense in 2017.
This is not a Los Angeles’ roster without talent. A year ago, the team added free agents such as defensive tackle Brandon Mebane and cornerback Casey Hayward. The latter led the NFL with seven interceptions in 2016, while Medane (who played for Bradley in Seattle) played and started 10 games this past season. And it’s worth noting that the Chargers finished 10th in the NFL against the run in ’16, this after giving up the sixth-most rushing yards in the league the previous year.
Of course, the Los Angeles Chargers have a pair of pass-rushing terrors in 2016 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Joey Bosa and outside linebacker Melvin Ingram – the latter the team’s unsigned franchise player. There are some question marks at the other linebacking spots. But if cornerback Jason Verrett can bounce back from a knee injury that cost him 10 games, this could be an interesting unit to watch.