During the offseason, expectations were high for the Los Angeles Chargers’ defense.
During the draft, the team was able to snag Derwin James in the first round, adding to what was already a strong secondary — at least on paper.
But this Chargers defense was carved up by the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams and gave up 27 points to the San Francisco 49ers. While the Chiefs and Rams are arguably the two best teams in the league to this point, the 49ers are not, and they were playing with a backup quarterback.
Though it’s just one player, the loss of Joey Bosa is looming large. The Chargers currently rank No. 25 in the league in terms of total defense and as a team, they have just eight sacks through four games. Only five teams have less.
What is up with this defense?
This week, the team will welcome back Corey Liuget. The defensive lineman was forced to sit out the first four games of the season due to violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. However, the fact that Liuget has decided to sue his former trainer in regards to that decision shows that he doesn’t feel he is guilty as charged.
That’s a story that Liuget can stop thinking about as much. Now, he can focus his efforts back to the football field and a defense that really needs him.
How much Liuget plays against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday remains to be seen, but Liuget should be fresh and ready to roll when his number is called. He has 22.5 career sacks and needs to have some impact in putting pressure on the quarterback. But he also needs to lend a hand against the run. Liuget is a solid run stopper and should see extra snaps on Sunday as a result. The Chargers are allowing about 109 yards per game on the ground, a number that needs to come down.
While it’s not Bosa, the return of Liuget is one that could provide a quick shot in the arm for a defense that needs to be much better than its been through the first quarter of the season.