Getting pressure on the quarterback is critical to having success defensively in today’s NFL. For the San Diego Chargers, defensive coordinator John Pagano has done a marvelous job in recent years of designing schemes to help his guys accomplish that. Unfortunately one player has missed out on the parade to the quarterback during his lackluster career thus far, and that guy is Larry English.
A former first round pick out of Northern Illinois, English has been a true enigma during his time with the Bolts. Injuries have certainly played a large role in his inability to be productive, but even when he’s been healthy the sacks just haven’t come his way.
Now with fellow outside linebacker Melvin Ingram out for the season with a torn ACL, it’s time for Larry English to finally get his moment in the starting lineup. Shaun Phillips and Antwan Barnes left via free agency, and even though Dwight Freeney was signed to help ease the blow of losing Ingram, much is going to be expected from English this season.
English was asked about his role in 2013 by the team’s website, and he said:
“I wouldn’t say there’s pressure, but there is going to be a lot expected of me, and I expect a lot out of myself. I’m just concentrating on being able to provide what the team needs. Coach (Mike) McCoy emphasized to all of us that now is the time for someone to step up and provide what we’ll miss from Melvin, and I have that opportunity now to be the guy the team needs.”
Even if Larry isn’t going to say that there is pressure, it seems fairly clear that this is it for English. This is the final year of his rookie deal, and if he fails to show something far better than his 8.5 sacks in four seasons indicate it’s safe to say his next contract won’t be coming from San Diego.
His competition isn’t really going to be competition in training camp with the Chargers planning to use a rotation of sorts at the outside linebacker spot. Veterans Freeney and Jarret Johnson figure to rotate with English as that trio will try to stay fresh and productive throughout the course of the season. Health will be vital to English making a lasting impression this coming year as his rookie season was the only time he actually suited up for all 16 games.
A lot is on the line for Larry English in the 2013 season. It’s tough to project just what we will see from him in the upcoming year with so little to base any sort of predictions on, but he knows what is riding on this season. Hopefully that will act as extra motivation to get the best out of the former first round pick when the Chargers need him the most.