Return To Dominance - Defensive Line

For almost the entire season, there have been people questioning the Chargers’ offensive line and run game. Why can’t these guys block anybody? Why can’t LT breakout for 100 yards? People wanted to point the finger at the Bolts and have almost entirely discredited the opponent. Look back at the teams the Chargers have played and focus in on the oppositions’ defensive lines. The Chargers have matched up against some incredible D-linemen all season long. The Bears and Patriots have Pro Bowlers on that line. The Green Bay Packers have Pro Bowlers on their D-line. Kansas City has an emerging unit with some elite players. Houston has made it a point to spend first round picks on their D-line and Minnesota has one of the best interior tandems in the game. The Jaguars and Ravens have some of the biggest, strongest defensive linemen in the AFC, and it’s still fresh in our minds how dominant the Titans can be with a healthy Albert Haynesworth and Kyle Vanden Bosch.

Yes, I know this is the NFL and everybody gets paid. Nobody is a pushover and the Chargers are going to get teams’ best shot week in and week out. But it’s pretty obvious that elite Defensive tackles can dominate and dictate a game. We see it here in San Diego how a healthy and fresh Jamal Williams can absolutely shut down his opponent’s run game. His strength and power commands double teams, which allow his outside linebackers to be stars and make spectacular plays as the ball is funneled their way.

When Luis Castillo is healthy he is as disruptive as they come. Jacques Cesaire, who I really like, is a good backup who plays with a ton of energy, but he can’t take over a ballgame like Luis Castillo or Jamal Williams can. And while Igor Olshansky is a force in the run game who is growing as a pass rusher, the fact is he is still emerging. Don’t get me wrong, Igor is having his best season as a pro – he’s been really impressive with his ability to make plays in the backfield this year. I really like Igor and I really like Luis, Jacques, and Jamal. But the Chargers are simply a different team without Luis Castillo and Jamal Williams. If this team wants to reassert itself as a dominant front seven with an impenetrable run defense, they are going to need to add some talent on that line and could do worse than spend a first round pick on an elite defensive tackle.

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December 11, 2007

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