Chargers no longer on defensive about stopping the run

www.latimes.com
4 min read
fairly easy
The Chargers' run defense has improved the last four games by limiting opponents to an average of 3.7 yards per carry. Up next, the Denver Broncos.
They still rank last in the NFL, the two teams closest to them — Detroit and Houston — a combined 2-18-1.

Yet to be fair, any discussion of the Chargers' season-long rushing defense must include what has recently happened.

The Chargers have limited their last four opponents to an average of 3.7 yards per carry, which would rank No. 2 over the course of the season.

They have given up 476 yards on the ground during that stretch, but it has taken the opposition 129 attempts to get there.

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"We just got tired of all the noise, people saying that they can run all over us," edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu said. "As a man, that just hurts your pride. At some point, you have to muscle up and say, 'We're going to just start punching dudes in the mouth.'"

Since their week off, the Chargers are the ones who have been more frequently landing the blows. In their last two games, they held Minnesota and Pittsburgh to 158 yards in 51 carries, an average of 3.1.

Defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill explained that the coaching staff stressed improvement against the run by reteaching many of the principles the Chargers employ in their schemes.

During the season's first six weeks, the defense often was ripped apart up front because of miscommunication or improper technique. The success of the Chargers' system depends heavily on each player correctly handling his responsibilities.

"That's not just the psychical aspect of the game but the mental part, too," defensive tackle Justin Jones said. "You have to take the time outside the facility to sit down and study your position, study the guys next to you, understand your role in the defense and understand how your part is important to our defense and how we can play as a whole. If everybody is doing their own…
Jeff Miller
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