Antwan Barnes, Melvin Ingram and Shaun Phillips could cause nightmares for quarterbacks
The San Diego Chargers struggled with getting pressure on quarterbacks in 2011. They went from being tied for second with 47 sacks in 2010 to being tied for 23rd with 32 sacks in 2011. A big reason why production decreased happened because Shaun Phillips went from 11 sacks in 2010 to just 3.5 in 2011. Antwan Barnes increased his production by going from 4.5 sacks in 11 games during the 2010 season to 11 sacks in 15 games in 2011. San Diego added defensive end Melvin Ingram in round one of the 2012 NFL Draft. Ingram recorded nine sacks in 12 games during his 2010 season as a South Carolina Gamecock, and recorded 10 in 13 games last season as he made an All-SEC First team and was a consensus All-American.
Barnes was tied for the team lead with two forced fumbles in 2011, and Phillips was tied for second with two interceptions. Phillips did not force a fumble in 2010 or 2011, but led the Chargers with seven in 2009. Ingram did not force a fumble in 37 games at South Carolina, but this could change in the NFL. San Diego was tied for 27th in 2010 when they had 11 forced fumbles as a team, but their 47 sacks made up for this and their seven forced fumbles as a team in 2011 were tied for last.
Phillips recorded at least seven sacks in every season from 2005-2010 including two seasons with double digit sacks. Hopefully Barnes will pick up where he left off and Ingram will be able to make an immediate impact as a rookie. If Phillips returns to form and Barnes is anywhere near the production he had in 2011, it will create problems for quarterbacks who may be worried about Ingram as well.