Expect the Chargers defense to shine in 2022
By: Jake Rajala
The Los Angeles Chargers have a steaming hot offense led by former Oregon Duck Justin Herbert (5,014 passing yards and 38 passing touchdowns in 2021), but let’s not forget about their blood-thirsty defense which recently added former Defensive Player of The Year winner Khalil Mack and interception magnet J.C. Jackson. The Chargers defense will certainly make opponents feel like they’re on the walk of shame in 2022.
The Chargers defense impressively ranked 13th in passing yards allowed last season. Although, they did bleed against the run (30th in rushing yards allowed) and they weren’t sexy in sacking opposing quarterbacks (35 sacks).
In 2022 — Chargers fans should be filled with bliss about the potential for their defense. Mack (31 years old) is still a very good football player & he was on pace for one of his best seasons a season ago. The former Buffalo defender ousted six sacks, 7 QB hits, and six tackles for loss in seven contests. It must be noted that his pals on defense in Los Angeles are superior to his friends around him in Chi-town. His edge-rushing mate, Joey Bosa (who may not be better than Robert Quinn), will continue to be a headache for opposing QBs. The older Bosa bro ousted 10.5 sacks, 20 QB hits, and a whopping 7 forced fumbles in 2021 (which led him to make his fourth straight Pro Bowl selection). The Chargers undoubtedly hold a Top-5 pass-rushing tandem in the league – which will be a key reason for their squad significantly improving in sacking opposing QBs from last season.
The Chargers secondary is where the magic happens. The imposing J.C. Jackson (17 ints in the past two seasons combined) will link arms with Derwin James Jr. to make life a living hell for opposing signal-callers. James Jr. — who garnered first-team All-Pro honors as a rookie — became the highest-paid safety in the league last August. His baggage has been his inability to stay healthy (11 missed contests in 2019 & MIA for the entire 2020 season). If he can stay healthy, he’s unequivocally a Top-5 safety and a game-changer. The CB2 and x-factor on the Chargers defense is Asante Samuel Jr (son of Asante Samuel). He ousted two interceptions as a rookie last season. He will be really called on to slow down the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Derek Carr, and Russell Wilson moving forward.
I feel excited to imagine the damage that the Chargers defense will enforce on opponents. They should dramatically take steps forward from 2021 in stopping the run, the pass, and burying opposing QBs in the ground. The Chargers offense may have a potential MVP winner at QB, but I would be starstruck if Andy Reid, Josh McDaniel, and Nathaniel Hackett don’t lose sleep over the maniacs that reign on the Chargers defense.