Every year, many have been optimistic about the Los Angeles Chargers during the preseason, only to see them fall short of expectations by January.
Despite possessing solid talent, especially on offense, they have made the playoffs only twice in the last dozen seasons.
But this year, there is a different vibe about the Chargers, and it is chiefly because of the defensive side of the football.
It has led some to pick Los Angeles to win the AFC West and possibly even reach the Super Bowl.
Derwin James, the team’s Pro Bowl safety, had a warning to the rest of the football world about its defense this season.
#Chargers S Derwin James on adding Khalil Mack and JC Jackson while on @PatMcAfeeShow “its dogs out there man you can feel it. I consider myself a dog, so its just having more dogs out there with me. We are just trying to get out there and hunt.”
— Fernando Ramirez (@RealFRamirez) September 6, 2022
“It’s dogs out there man you can feel it,” said James. “I consider myself a dog, so it’s just having more dogs out there with me. We are just trying to get out there and hunt.”
The difference in the Chargers’ defense between last year and this year could be like night and day.
Mack Will Make Life Tough For Opposing Quarterbacks
In 2021, Los Angeles was 22nd in interceptions forced, 23rd in total yards allowed, 28th in first downs allowed, and 29th in points allowed.
With all the good and great quarterbacks in the AFC, general manager Tom Telesco recognized his team needed more firepower on its front seven, and he, therefore, went out and acquired Mack for two draft picks.
He is coming off a foot injury, and at age 31, he may be a bit diminished compared to what he was in his prime, but he should be a boon for the Bolts.
— DRUNK FIELDS 💯 (@DrunkJFields) October 9, 2020
Until last year, he had made the Pro Bowl for six straight seasons while being named to the All-Pro First Team times and recording double digits in sacks each year from 2015 to 2018.
Mack will be teamed up with Joey Bosa, who himself is a talented pass rusher, and together, they will make opposing QBs work to move the chains.
Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack on the same D-line pic.twitter.com/ESWf8RwH4q
— Pardon My Take (@PardonMyTake) March 10, 2022
In 2020, his last fully healthy season, Mack put up nine sacks, three passes defended and forced fumbles, 11 tackles for loss, and 13 quarterback hits.
Last year, he had six sacks, six tackles for loss, and seven QB hits in seven contests before his injury.
Jackson Will Strengthen A Suspect Secondary
Jackson is going to make a mark as well on a Chargers team that had some issues preventing opponents from making big plays downfield in 2021.
Last season, while playing for a surprising New England Patriots squad, he posted eight interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown, and an NFL-high 23 passes defended.
— Grizzy⚡️💔 (@JCJacksonStan_) September 5, 2022
As a member of the Patriots, he also played for a world championship team in 2018, and although he didn’t play much during that Super Bowl run, he did get schooled in the “Patriots Way,” and he can bring aspects of that championship culture to Southern California.
The concern is that Jackson is currently out after having ankle surgery two weeks ago, and his status for Week 1 versus the Las Vegas Raiders is still up in the air.
But one he gets on the field, opposing wide receivers will notice a change in the Chargers’ secondary, and it won’t be pleasant for them.