Jason Verrett believes Chargers' defense can be dominant in 2016

SAN DIEGO – Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Verrett says he sees a different energy level and mindset when the San Diego Chargers' defense is on the field working during organized team activities this offseason.

And he believes with continued work and effort that mindset will translate to more dominant performances on game days.

“We feel young,” Verrett said. “Everybody’s mentality out there is young, as far as wanting to be a go-getter. So having that mindset out there is matching the intensity.

“So if we can match our intensity level, I feel like our defense can be dominant.”

On paper, the Chargers look like they could live up to Verrett’s claim in 2016.

They return two productive edge rushers in Melvin Ingram and Jeremiah Attaochu. Together the duo combined for 16.5 sacks last season, with Ingram leading the Chargers with 10.5.

The addition of first-round selection Joey Bosa and free agent Brandon Mebane on the defensive line along with defensive end Corey Liuget should give San Diego a stout defensive front against the run, helping a defense that gave up nearly 5 yards a carry last season.

The Chargers also have good depth at pass rusher with Kyle Emanuel, Darius Philon and Tourek Williams also showing an ability to get after the quarterback.

Manti Te’o appears ready to assert himself as the team’s defensive leader, and paired with second-year pro Denzel Perryman gives San Diego a solid foundation at inside linebacker.

“I have a bigger leadership role this year, and it’s the role I’m most comfortable in,” Te’o told the team’s website. “I look at myself as the voice of the defense, and I think I’m viewed that way.

“This is going to be my fourth year, and everything has come full circle. I’m more of an inclusive type of leader, and I like to make sure everyone feels important. They all have special roles to the success of our team. For me as a leader, my job is to make sure they know that. To make sure all 11 links on defense are playing as one and for each other.”

Verrett is one of the top corners in the game, while Brandon Flowers is healthy and appears like he’ll return to a solid performer.

The addition of cornerback Casey Hayward and Dwight Lowery adds experience in the secondary, while safety Jahleel Addae provides another tone-setter in the defensive backfield.

Team speed also should be improved, as the Chargers have burners at every level of the defense.

Attaochu called the addition Mebane priceless. He said that through the first three months of offseason work, Mebane has been a mentor to San Diego’s defensive players, pointing out things each one can do to make the unit more successful.

“We take it,” Attaochu told The Mighty 1090 AM radio about Mebane’s advice. “He has a Super Bowl ring, something that we all want. He’s been on a team and on a defense full of guys that had what it took to win one. So I think he’s going to bring a little bit of that to the young group of guys that we have.”