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Joey Bosa brings swagger, relentless effort to Chargers defense

SAN DIEGO -- Joey Bosa put together a monster game in his NFL debut last week, finishing with two sacks and five combined tackles against the Oakland Raiders.

The San Diego Chargers rookie defensive end believes he left some plays out there, a scary thought for future opponents.

“I thought statistically it was good, but there’s a lot of things I can do a lot better from just myself watching,” Bosa said this week. “A lot of people won’t notice the little things I pay attention to when I’m watching myself.

“Just pass rushing, I think I could do better to get to the quarterback a little more. It’s my first game, and I’m going to continue to get better each week. I’m just working on improving everything equally.”

Bosa is one of five players to finish with two-plus sacks in his first NFL game in the last 15 years, joining Howard Jones (two sacks, 2015), Ryan Delaire (two sacks, 2015), Brian Robison (two sacks, 2007) and Carlos Hall (three sacks, 2002).

Just as San Diego general manager Tom Telesco discussed when the team drafted Bosa with the No. 3 overall selection, Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano used the former Ohio State star all over the field.

Bosa played 10 snaps at left end, eight snaps at right end, six snaps at left outside linebacker and three snaps at right outside linebacker.

He was effective rushing the passer from the edge and in pursuit against the run. Now that he’s had his first taste of NFL speed, Bosa said he’s ready for more.

He’ll face an even tougher test this week, playing against the Denver Broncos on four days' rest.

“I could have played some more snaps,” Bosa said. “But I think it was a smart move to limit [my snaps]. We really didn’t know how it was going to turn out with me going out there -- well, I knew deep down how I was going to do. But I think it was a smart move to limit me, because I’m definitely feeling it right now and yesterday.

“I felt great after the game. I was like, ‘Wow, I’m really not sore at all. I could play another game.’ And then I woke up the next morning and I was like, ‘No.’ But I think I’m more than ready to play a full game.”

Pagano said one of the ways Bosa has set himself apart is with his work ethic, showing up to the facility early and leaving late. Bosa’s attention to detail in the film room and his relentless effort on the field are a couple of reasons the Chargers took him where they did in this year’s draft.

“He’s somebody that’s a rookie, but he’s got to be a difference-maker for us,” Pagano said. “He’s got to go out there and affect the quarterback like we want him to.”

Along with his talent, defensive co-captain Brandon Mebane said Bosa brings some swagger to the defense.

“He’s a guy that’s not scared of nobody,” Mebane said. “He went in there very confident, wound up with two sacks and made some good tackles, too.”

A frequent target of Chargers fans on social media during his contract stalemate in August, Bosa said he received some positive interaction on Twitter after his impressive performance. He’s hoping for a warm reception in his first home game Thursday.

“It’s pretty funny,” Bosa said. “It was like, “Oh, dude I hated you, and now I just bought your jersey.’ And I’m like, ‘All right buddy, thanks.’ That’s just how it is with anything, really. I wouldn’t say I’m back on social media. I wanted to post something, but I’m still staying away.

“It’s going to be an awesome environment playing Thursday night against the Broncos. It’s going to be fun with the jerseys and everything. It seemed like we had a great showing last home game against New Orleans. There were a lot of fans out there, so I think it will be a fun experience.”