It doesn’t get nearly the publicity of some of the team’s offensive stars, but the San Diego Chargers have quietly assembled a solid defense under coordinator John Pagano, ranking inside the NFL’s top 10 a year ago. That defense isn’t exactly a goldmine of IDP-relevant talent, but it isn’t a complete wasteland, either.
In 2014, the entire San Diego defensive line generated all of 8.5 sacks. Defensive end Corey Liuget, who accounted for 4.5 of those sacks and recently inked a five-year, $58.5 million contract extension, told Ricky Henne of the team’s website that he’s aware that isn’t going to cut it in 2015.
“We want to be difference makers this year,” Liuget explained. “We want to play together and just go out there and ball out. We want to play the game with a bunch of energy, but getting our sack numbers up is most important.”
The Bolts may have thought the 25-year-old Liuget was worth that mammoth investment, but with a career high of seven sacks (in 2012), the same can’t really be said for Liuget’s IDP value. The fifth-year veteran is an OK choice as a low-ceiling IDP DL2, but Liuget’s little more than that.
The Chargers invested a second-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft in Miami inside linebacker Denzel Perryman in an effort to bolster a rather iffy group of inside linebackers, but Perryman told Hayley Elwood of the team’s website he knows nothing will be handed to him at the professional level.
“I want to execute my role on special teams and hopefully take a starting job,” Perryman said. “It’s all about competition on this level and it’s all a business. If I don’t get the job done, I’m pretty sure then next year they’ll bring someone else in to get the job done. I just want to get in and help this team win.”
It isn’t that hard to envision Perryman winning that starting spot. The Chargers have been waiting for Donald Butler to take the next step as a pro seemingly since the moment he entered the NFL in 2011. Third-year pro Manti Te’o has shown some flashes of the talent that made him a Heisman contender at Notre Dame, but Te’o has also been inconsistent and plagued by injuries.
To say that it’s a fluid situation is an understatement, and it’s one that may well not be resolved well into the preseason. For now I’d give Perryman the nod as the “most valuable” of the Chargers’ linebackers (followed by everyone’s favorite imaginary Casanova), but counting on any San Diego ILB as more than a fourth fantasy linebacker at present is asking for trouble.
For years, free safety Eric Weddle has been the leader of the San Diego defense, both from an NFL and IDP standpoint. However, with the 30-year-old Weddle and the team embroiled in a nasty contract dispute, it appears 2015 will be Weddle’s last season in Southern California.
Weddle himself sounded resigned to that fact while speaking with Eric Williams of ESPN. “I just want to go out on a high note, go out on top and lead my team,” he said. “I want to continue to show what I’m all about. I’m a pro. I’m a professional and strive to be the best and try to have fun. It’s all in the past. I can’t control it. They will do what they want. That’s their plan, I have mine and I’ll make the most of it.”
IDP owners will just have to make the most of it as well and enjoy one last season of that magnificent beard posting IDP DB1 numbers before facing an uncertain future.