San Diego Chargers improved pass rush could be tested in 2013

By Kenny Gardner
San Diego Chargers
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA Today Sports

The San Diego Chargers needed to improve their pass rush heading into the off-season last year because their 32 sacks were tied with the Cleveland Browns for 23rd in the NFL.  San Diego had 38 sacks in 2012 which was tied for 11th with Cleveland, the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers.

I believe that San Diego’s pass rush improved due in part to a much improved pass defense that went from 28th in 2011 to 12th in 2012 in yards per pass attempt allowed.  This gave San Diego’s defense more opportunities to put pressure on quarterbacks because the receivers were covered.

As of today, the Chargers have three cornerbacks under contract.  Marcus Gilchrist, Johnny Patrick and Shareece Wright have combined for eight career starts.  This lack of experience could mean bad coverage in the secondary which would put more pressure on San Diego’s defense to get to quarterbacks faster.  San Diego could re-sign Antoine Cason who started at cornerback in 45 of San Diego’s 48 games from 2010-2012.

Shaun Phillips led San Diego with 9.5 sacks in 2012 while second year man Corey Liuget had seven sacks and was tied for second with nine pass deflections.  Phillips is not expected to be brought back due to the fact that San Diego has so many outside linebackers including 2012 first round pick Melvin Ingram.

Kendall Reyes was San Diego’s second round pick in 2012 and he finished third on the team with 5.5 sacks in 16 games which included four starts.

San Diego’s front office should try to re-sign Cason or go after another cornerback through a trade.  If San Diego’s front office releases some players, it makes sense for them to go after All-Pro CB Darrelle Revis through a trade. This would take pressure away from San Diego’s defense and create more opportunities to put pressure on quarterbacks.




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