Anthony Lynn said at the end of last season that generating turnovers would be a major point of emphasis for the Los Angeles Chargers this year.
So far, it hasn’t materialized the way their coach thought it would.
Los Angeles goes into Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay without a takeaway in the past two games and only two in September. Since the start of last season, the Chargers have generated a league-low 16. Last year’s 14 was a franchise low.
“We want to be that aggressive style of defense so we just got to keep going at it,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said.
The lack of takeaways is surprising considering the Chargers mostly excelled in other defensive areas. They are fourth in points allowed (19.0 per game), tied for fifth in pressures (11.7 per game) and eighth in yards allowed (337 per game).
Lynn said a major point this week has been being more aggressive on finding opportunities to strip the ball. Bradley noted the coaching staff has placed such an emphasis on tackling that it might have come at the expense of going for the ball.
Takeaways is also one of the bigger indicators of a team’s record. Of the nine teams that have forced two or fewer turnovers through Week 3, three are winless and only two have a winning record.
“You got guys that aren’t, you know, top defenses that create a lot of turnovers that figure out how to win games, so that turnover stat is key,” defensive tackle Damion Square said. “It’s hard to get them so we have to play faster. You know, teams that play with a lot of confidence create turnovers. So that’s one of the things that we have to build on.”
The Chargers — who have dropped two straight after winning their opener — will face a Tampa Bay offense that has turned it over five times, including three interceptions. Los Angeles though will be going into the game not at full strength. Defensive end Melvin Ingram, defensive tackle Justin Jones and cornerback Chris Harris are out indefinitely while defensive tackle Joey Bosa is banged up with injuries to his ankle and triceps.
NOTES: RT Bryan Bulaga (back), RG Trai Turner (groin), WR Mike Williams (hamstring) and QB Tyrod Taylor (chest/ribs) did not practice for a second straight day, leaving their status in doubt for Sunday.
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