SAN DIEGO — One of the team’s foundation players last season, new Los Angeles Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley will have to find a home for second-year pro Joey Bosa.
The former Ohio State star earned Associated Press defensive rookie of the year honors last season, finishing with 10.5 sacks in 12 games. Much was made in the lead-up to last season where Bosa would play in the team’s 3-4 defensive alignment and whether or not he would be a good fit in the scheme.
But Bosa proved effective, moving all across the defensive formations and playing solidly against the run.
With Bosa returning to his more familiar position of a base defensive end in Bradley’s 4-3 scheme, the hope is the Chargers can get even more production from Bosa in his second season.
Bradley said he’s already met with Bosa at Chargers Park. Bosa was a player the Jaguars strongly considered with the team’s No. 5 overall selection before the Chargers picked him at No. 3. Bosa traveled to the team’s facility in Jacksonville for a pre-draft visit.
The Leo defensive end is generally Bradley’s pass-rush specialist. Typically, Bradley is looking for a player that’s 6-3 and 255 pounds to play that position, which more likely fits the skill set of pending unrestricted free agent Melvin Ingram.
Like Bennett, Bradley said Bosa is a versatile player who can be effective in a lot of places along the defensive line.
“You have some general ideas of what it should look like, but then there’s always that guy that breaks the mold,” Bradley said. “A Leo [weakside defensive end in Bradley’s scheme] is typically 6-3 or 6-2, has got good length at about 255 pounds and runs a 4.6 [40-yard time].
“Would you say a 6-foot-5, 280-pound guy would be a typical Leo? No, not on the sheet of paper, but this guy’s different — he breaks the mold. Could he [Bosa] play Leo? Yes. It’s going to look a little bit different, but what you’re looking from that position is production. He had 10.5 sacks in 12 games. The whole Leo was designed for guys to get a lot of opportunities to have good rushes. And so you need him to be productive.”
Bradley also went on to say that Bosa also would be a different style of base end than he typically has in his system, with those players typically 6-4 and around 300 pounds.
Bosa played 538 snaps for the Chargers as a rookie. He missed the first four games to a hamstring strain suffered in his first practice after sitting out the first month of training camp in a contract dispute.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Bosa totaled 6.5 sacks from his traditional left end position, three sacks from the right end and one sack from the right outside linebacker position.
While Bosa’s base spot will be as a defensive end, Bradley plans to use Bosa at other areas on the field as well, as former Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano did last season.
“Obviously, going through the draft, we had a pretty good feel for him and we really liked him,” Bradley said. “Sometimes it’s hard if you miss camp and you miss some time. So give credit to him and the coaching staff. They did a great job of getting him ready in a short period of time. And obviously he kept his body in great shape and was ready to go.”