It’s looking like for the third time this season, the Los Angeles Rams are in the process of dealing with an edge rusher with “Bosa” on the back.
Already having dealt with NFL sack leader Nick Bosa twice with the rival San Francisco 49ers, the Chargers’ Joey Bosa still has his own playing status pending for the New Year’s Day battle, as the elder Bosa has been out with a torn groin from Week 3. However, the NFL Network’s Bridget Condon reported on Monday, December 26 that Bosa was slated to return to practice. Charger players gave the indicator Bosa is on his way back.
One was from veteran linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who went with a resurrection theme tweet:
Defensive end Breiden Fehoko, though, gave a more honest take about when Bosa returns…which will diminish his snaps.
Bosa has now been designated for a return and was caught at practice by The Athletic’s Daniel Popper on Thursday, December 29.
Charger Players Have Thrived in Rams-Style Attack
Anyone who plans to attend or watch the Rams and Chargers will spot similarities in their defense.
It has nothing to do with the fact both carry L.A. in their name. It has more to do with the Chargers running the Rams’ defense.
Before taking the head coaching gig for the Bolts, head coach Brandon Staley brought the schemes and alignments from the Rams’ league-leading 2020 defense over to the Chargers. It’s a scheme that often brought exotic looks in front of offenses; from a four defensive linemen and one linebacker look to Staley throwing five defensive linemen across the line of scrimmage in odd fronts. In the process, there are Charger defenders who have thrived under the Ex-Rams defensive coordinator.
One is Drue Tranquill, who has posted a career-high 129 tackles and five sacks in his second season under Staley. Another is hard-hitting safety Derwin James — who has become a back-to-back Pro Bowl defender under Staley and has shattered a personal record in sacks with four this season.
It also helps Staley that he’s got former Ram players in his defense. Nose tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day has produced his most tackles for a loss with eight in his reunion with Staley. Fellow former Ram Morgan Fox is another past Staley player who delivered six sacks during that 2020 season. Fox is two tackles away from breaking his previous best of 34 and needs one more sack to shatter his 2020 total. Troy Reeder is the final Ex-Ram on the other side who has mostly played special teams for Staley with 274 total snaps there.
As for the four-time Pro Bowler Bosa, he produced 10.5 sacks in his first season under Staley in 2021. But has been limited to 1.5 sacks and seven tackles this season due to his groin ailment. If Bosa starts, it’s likely that left tackle Ty Nsekhe will be the one responsible for the edge rusher. Though right tackle Rob Havenstein could have his share of tangling with Bosa in what becomes a Big 10 battle between the two, as Bosa starred at Ohio State and “Big Hav” thriving at Wisconsin.
Staley Chimes in on Matchup With Former Boss
The New Year’s Day battle will be the first regular season meeting between Staley and his former head coaching boss Sean McVay.
Staley was with the Rams for just one season. However, Staley nicely called McVay a “lifelong friend” and created a bond with the Super Bowl winning coach.
“I certainly wouldn’t be here without him,” Staley said to the L.A. media on Wednesday, December 28. “There’s a lifelong friend there.”
But he added “At the same time, we’re great competitors, even though we’re good friends. This game is going to be about competition. I’m excited to take the field on Sunday.”