Have you ever been punched in the gut?
Well the San Diego Chargers received the football equivalent on Tuesday in minicamp when reports confirmed that second-year linebacker Melvin Ingram suffered a torn ACL. The Bolts had high hopes for last year’s first round pick heading into year two after an up and down rookie campaign, but those will be put on hold thanks to this devastating injury.
The Chargers selected Ingram 18th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft with the idea of grooming him to take over for now former linebacker Shaun Phillips. The team allowed Phillips to leave via free agency to make room for Ingram as the starting outside linebacker, but now the Bolts are put in a tricky position.
There really isn’t much depth on the club currently at outside linebacker with Phillips now a member of the Denver Broncos and another former linebacker Antwan Barnes now with the New York Jets. What this could mean is the Chargers are officially in the market for a pass rusher, and thankfully there are still capable veteran options available.
Both Dwight Freeney and John Abraham remain on the open market, and they could be receiving a call from the Bolts shortly about their new positional need. General Manager Tom Telesco is familiar with Freeney from his time spent with the Indianapolis Colts, but just what his opinion on the former All-Pro is has yet to be determined. Freeney didn’t really transition well into the 3-4 defense with Indy last year which may lessen the likelihood of him finding a home with the Bolts.
As for Abraham, he has been in a 4-3 alignment for the bulk of his career as well, but there may be difficulty finding the so-called “perfect fit” at this late stage of the game. The Chargers may have to trust that one of these veterans can come in with a limited role and make an impact on the defense in 2013.
As a fan of the Chargers, this really is a tough break. Just when things seemed to be looking up after the last three years of adversity, this injury is enough to tank the spirits of Bolts fans once again. This injury will give another former first round pick, Larry English, one last chance to prove his worth, but I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.