Dwight Freeney Injury Significantly Weakens San Diego Chargers’ Already Feeble Pass Defense
Injuries have been a very brutal reality for the 2013 San Diego Chargers. The team has lost a number of players who were expected to be key contributors to devastating ailments at many different points over the past few months. The onslaught of injuries actually began in May at minicamp when pass rusher Melvin Ingram went down with a torn ACL which led to the timely addition of veteran Dwight Freeney. Now the Bolts will have to go back to the drawing board once again to drum up some pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Freeney writhed in pain on Sunday after suffering a torn quad muscle that has put the remainder of his 2013 campaign in lightning bolts in doubt. His patented spin move had its moments through the first four games of the season in San Diego, and given the lack of depth the team has on the edge it remains a mystery where they will turn to replace his production.
Certainly the team could attempt to replace this loss from within via the ever-disappointing Larry English or rookie Tourek Williams. The former first round regret in English is finally in the last year of his contract and will likely not be brought back by the team. He is likely to get the first crack at filling in for Freeney, but it would be a ‘fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me’ situation to expect anything more than mediocrity from him.
As for Freeney and whether or not he will be able to play with the injury, head coach Mike McCoy offered some insight into just what the team is thinking regarding the injury. McCoy told USA Today:
“He’s talking to some people, we’re talking to people and just really kind of figuring out what is the best way to go. That is a possibility. We’ll just wait and see in the next couple of days, the severity of it exactly, what our plan is going forward.”
While his immediate future remains a bit of a mystery, what isn’t so mysterious is the fact that the Bolts will struggle applying pressure to opposing signal callers without Freeney and his 108 career sacks. Even though his numbers haven’t been impressive in San Diego with just a half sack and three tackles this season, Freeney is someone opponents must account for and has hurried opposing QBs on a regular basis. Without him, a defense that already struggles against the pass will only get less impressive in that department.