San Diego Chargers new Defensive Coordinator John Pagano has the problem every maestro of the 3-4 Defense wishes they had – Too many pass-rushing linebackers.
With the off season acquisition of free agent LB Jarret Johnson, the return of a healthy Shaun Phillips, and with Antwan Barnes coming off an 11 sack season, the Chargers pass rush is almost certain to improve on its 23rd ranking in 2011. However the biggest jolt to Pagano’s defensive assault may come in the form of rookie OLB Melvin Ingram.
After slipping to the 18th overall pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Ingram might be playing like he has something extra to prove. The former University of South Carolina All-American was much maligned throughout the draft process for having short arms.
That so called deficiency is nowhere to be found in Melvin Ingram’s play. Chargers veteran DB Quentin Jammer called Ingram “An Absolute Monster,” and praised the Chargers rookie for having an exceptional motor. Back in April, San Diego Head Coach Norv Turner referred to Ingram as “The most complete linebacker in the draft.” – Apparently for good reason.
Last week, Pagano got to introduce his new arsenal of defensive weapons to reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. It was Ingram who arguably shined the brightest. His allegedly short arms were a non-factor as he frustrated, hurried and intimidated Rodgers, and back up Graham Harrell, in to poor decisions and waiting defenders.
Ingram officially finished with two tackles in a San Diego Chargers victory, although his impact on the game dwarfed his statistics. The question on everyone’s mind however is: Where will Ingram be on the depth chart when the season opens on that Monday night in Oakland?
Todd Coshow is a Chargers Columnist for rantsports.com. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Todd on twitter @TC_Coshow