COSTA MESA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Chargers are expected to add linebacker Denzel Perryman, one of the best tacklers on the team, to the active roster after the bye week, in time for the team’s Week 9 contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The former University of Miami linebacker began the regular season on injured reserve and has been out since suffering a left ankle injury in the team’s preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks in August that required surgery. Perryman began practicing two weeks ago, and Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said he likes what he’s seen so far from the third-year pro.
“We get him back in the building on Monday and go from there with regular practice,” Lynn said. “Denzel’s been practicing for the last couple of weeks anyways, so I have a pretty good idea where he’s at. But I think it’s safe to say he could slide right back in and start.”
Perryman finished with 72 combined tackles and two sacks last season, and posted similar numbers (73 tackles, two sacks) during his rookie season in 2015. So it’s safe to say that Perryman will improve a Chargers’ run defense that is allowing 135 rushing yards a contest, second worst in the NFL.
Finding where Perryman fits into the lineup will be the task of defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
“He’s very well respected,” Bradley said about Perryman. “I think a lot of the players, when they saw him start to practice and getting in some reps, they were excited about that.
“So I think with the linebacker situation, I’m anticipating him starting, coming and doing that. But just the rotations, now we’re trying to move some guys in and out, and hopefully in the coming week we’ll see him practice and kind of solidify that part of it.”
Part of Bradley’s self-scouting during the bye week will be figuring out how to get his group to play more consistently against the run during the last eight weeks of the regular season.
The Chargers have been better lately, giving up an average of 92 rushing yards a contest in the last three games, and 3.8 yards per carry.
“There’s six areas that we talk about are stopping the run, eliminating explosives, affecting the quarterback, winning on third down, owning the red zone, and then it’s all about the ball, our takeaways,” Bradley said. “And so those six areas we’ll really break down and analyze and see which defenses are doing better than others and what are the issues that we’ve got to get corrected.”
Asked which players have stood out this season, Bradley pointed to cornerback Trevor Williams and safety Adrian Phillips in the secondary, Hayes Pullard at linebacker and Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa at edge rusher, along with Darius Philon and Brandon Mebane on the defensive line.
Philon, a sixth-round selection by the Chargers in the 2015 draft out of Arkansas, has had a breakout season this year, totaling 17 tackles and three sacks.
“What’s been brought to my attention is just maturity,” Bradley said. “Now, again, I’ve only known him for this short period of time, but what I’ve seen is he’s a detailed guy.
“I think he used to be a guy you always had to keep your thumb on and push him in the right direction. But sometimes with guys, the more years they play, it kind of triggers for him. And it feels like that with him. I think Giff [defensive line coach Giff Smith] still keeps his thumb on him, but he’s just really taken ownership and is a very prideful person.”