The return of Melvin Ingram could be exactly what this San Diego Chargers defense needs in order to help Philip Rivers and the offense make a final push for the sixth seed in the playoffs. It’s an extremely hotly contested battle for the sixth seed, as many mediocre teams are in a scuffle for that final playoff spot. Even though Rivers has been playing at an MVP level and a few other players on the Chargers have been standouts this year (guys like Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead), this team is technically as mediocre as the likes of the Baltimore Ravens. But the Chargers have always been right in the mix thanks to a high-powered passing attack led by Rivers, and they are a threat to beat just about anyone. I mean, they did squeak by the Kansas City Chiefs last week (how Rivers placed that final pass, I will never know) in an impressive 41-38 victory.
The defense, though, needs to step up big-time, and it’s the pass defense that has been a huge detriment for this team. They managed to make Alex Smith look like Matthew Stafford out there, and cornerback Derek Cox continues to add to his “free agent bust” resume. The Chargers benched Cox once again for getting burned twice by friggin’ Donnie Avery, and it almost seems like Cox has been benched more times than he’s played a full game.
Dwight Freeney was signed by the Chargers in the offseason, and the intent was to have him give the Chargers some semblance of a pass rush with Melvin Ingram likely out for the season with a torn ACL. Freeney exceeded expectations with an amazing start to the season, and his terrific play covered up many holes in the Chargers secondary. But then Freeney was lost for the season.
Just like the Chargers have exceeded expectations in their first season under Mike McCoy and Tom Telesco (a smashing success all around) and Freeney surpassed projections, Melvin Ingram has exceeded expectations in his return from ACL surgery. As a matter of fact, the uber-athletic OLB started practicing last week and has earned some high praise from teammates for his quick recovery.
According to a source close to the Union-Times San Diego’s Michael Gehlken, there is a “real possibility” that Ingram can play in the first half of next month. He’s obviously been ruled out for tomorrow’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, but it is absolutely incredible to think that Ingram could play as soon as the first half of next month and give the Chargers a much-needed boost on defense in their quest to make the playoffs. He’s done an amazing job at practice, and I think we’ll see him out there sooner rather than later.