The Chargers finished last season ranked sixth in the league in total defense.
You’ll pardon defensive coordinator Gus Bradley if he doesn’t take much pride in it.
“I think to all of us as a defense and defensive coaches, it didn’t feel like that,” Bradley said, via Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times.
Of course, going 5-11 made it hard to take solace in any statistic, but the Chargers added significant personnel this offseason to try to improve results. They brought in defensive tackle Linval Joseph and cornerback Chris Harris in free agency, and traded back into the first round to choose Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray.
If they make a single difference, Bradley’s hoping they can help create more pass rush and by extension turnovers, since the Chargers were 32nd in takeaways last year.
“Yes, you’ve got to stop the run,” Bradley said. “Yes, you’ve got to eliminate explosive plays. But you have to find ways to affect the quarterback. . . .We didn’t do a good enough job last year in doing that.”
For a team that had Pro Bowl pass-rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram outside, that lack of pressure was surprising. They ranked 28th in the league with 30.0 sacks, and Bosa and Ingram combined to 18.5 of those and no other player had more than three.
Bradley also said that they planned to play more man coverage, in hopes that a more aggressive approach leads to the improvement he’s looking for.