INDIANAPOLIS–The Los Angeles Chargers have behttps://wordpress.uscannenberg.arcpublishing.com/wp-admin/edit.phpcome a force to be reckoned with in the NFL under head coach Anthony Lynn. In 2017, his first season as head coach, the team improved to a 9-7 record and just narrowly missed the playoffs. The previous season the Chargers finished with a 5-11 record, good for last in the AFC West division.
In 2018, the team jumped to a 12-4 record and was finished one game behind the AFC West-leading Chiefs. In the playoffs, the Chargers took down the Baltimore Ravens, 23-17 before losing to the eventual Super Bowl LIII winners, the New England Patriots.
Lynn has had a major part in the Chargers' meteoric rise since the firing of previous head coach Mike McCoy; however, the Chargers defense has made them the team to beat.
At the 2019 Combine head coach availability, Lynn stood at the dais and spoke highly of his defense which is anchored by former collegiate standout Joey Bosa.
The Chargers finished with the No. 9-ranked defense in the league in 2018. The team allowed 20.6 points with 333.7 yards per game across its 16 game schedule which included matchups with the Chiefs, New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The team used its first two picks in the 2018 NFL Draft on top-ranked defensive players. With the No. 17 overall pick, the Chargers selected Florida State's safety Derwin James.
In his rookie season, James notched three interceptions, 3.5 sacks, and 105 combined tackles. In particular, his versatility as a safety made him a crucial part of the Chargers' ability to gameplan, Lynn noted.
"D.J. is a versatile athlete, we used D.J. a lot of ways," Lynn said. "He's in the box as a linebacker, he's a strong safety, a free safety, he's a rusher. We were very fortunate to get him, he fell into our lap last year."
However, James is not the only versatile player on the Chargers' staff. Lynn also noted the capabilities of defensive back Desmond King, a fifth-round draft pick from Iowa.
"You have a guy like Desmond King, he's a good cover guy, he's a good blitzer, a he's a good tackler," Lynn continued. "You can't get more versatile than that as a defensive back."
King had three interceptions, one touchdown and four sacks in 2018.
Lynn also spoke highly of former USC standout Uchenna Nwosu. Nwosu, who was drafted in the second round, finished with 27 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Nwosu also had a game-sealing strip sack in the Chargers' playoff win against the Baltimore Ravens.
"Love the way he finished the season," Lynn said. "I thought he finished very strong. If he can start the way he finished, he's going to play an outstanding player for us on our defense for a long time."
The Chargers will open its 2019 campaign with either a home game against the Denver Broncos or an away matchup against the Chicago Bears.