Among Chargers players the past two seasons, only Shawne Merriman has had as much success forcing the ball loose as Shaun Phillips.
Phillips and Merriman both had four forced fumbles in 2006, which accounted for 8 of the Chargers 17 total on the year. Those 17 total forced fumbles place the Chargers in a tie for sixth place among all NFL teams. Certainly there is room for improvement in this area, but Phillips and Merriman are clearly doing their part.
Shaun Phillips has already shown that he is ready to have an even bigger year in 2007. In the Chargers preseason matchup against the St. Louis Rams, Phillips worked two forced fumbles. This is an example of a trend that is continuing with Phillips:
2006 Regular Season - 04 Forced Fumbles
2006 Post Season - 01 Forced Fumbles
2007 Pre Season - 02 Forced Fumbles
2007 Regular Season - 07 Forced Fumbles (BoltHype Projection)
I'm expecting a career year for Shaun Phillips. Watching him in the offseason workouts and preseason games showed me that he is in world-class shape. His agility and speed off the ball are off the charts. He has greatly improved his ability to drop back into coverage and turn his hips, and can read and identify a run play with the swiftness of a top safety.
In a sixteen game season, my projected numbers for Shaun Phillips is as follows:
65 tackles, 12 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 7 passes defended
Its going to extremely difficult to earn a pro bowl berth at Outside linebacker with all the talent in the AFC, but it would not be out of the question to expect Shaun Phillips to make a real case for himself this season.
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