Your 4-4 Los Angeles Chargers are bringing back young defensive tackle from Michigan, Christopher Hinton.
The imposing Hinton stands at 6-foot-4, 310 pounds. During training camp, he was with the Bolts, but the club had cut him in early October to sign cornerback Essang Bassey.
This season, there has been a ton of movement regarding Hinton, and hopefully, he can stay put on the practice squad for his own sake.
Maybe we’ll even get to see Hinton with the Chargers at some point this season. But for now, he’s back on the practice squad and will provide defensive line depth for the Bolts.
“I think that it’s getting closer. Probably, for us, we’ve been healthy and we have the right combination of people out there,” head coach Brandon Staley said Wednesday, via the team’s transcripts.
“That helps you, I think, play to your level. What I’ve seen, the last two weeks specifically, is just us playing with the right energy from the first whistle to the last one. I just think that in all three levels of the defense, we’ve played consistent football.
“We’ve done the things that winning defenses do, starting with the run game, and how you rush the quarterback, how you defend in the passing game, keeping the ball in front of you.
Then, we’ve turned the football over. We’ve been able to get the takeaways consistently, really, throughout the season, but the last two weeks.
Then, situationally, I think that we’ve been sharp. I think we’ve been on it. We’re just at the beginning. This group continues to improve. Just one week at a time for this group, but we’ve made improvement.”
It helps that Joey Bosa is healthy again. A reemergence of Khalil Mack didn’t hurt, either. Los Angeles’ eight sacks recorded on Monday night stood as an example of the defense’s potential — a production level most expected from a unit filled with enough talent to perform at a rate higher than it reached earlier this season.
Such a performance also helped out Los Angeles’ offense, especially on a night in which most everything was difficult for the group.
Justin Herbert finished with a career-low 136 passing yards on Monday night, yet the Chargers won comfortably, 27-6.
Austin Ekeler ended up being the star of a muted offensive show for the Chargers, totaling 70 yards from scrimmage and two rushing touchdowns.
Such numbers typically wouldn’t suggest a standout performance, but because the Chargers couldn’t put together a whole lot offensively, Ekeler’s contributions proved to be essential.
What ended up being most important was how the Chargers capitalized on opportunities produced by takeaways.
Of their four scoring drives, none required Los Angeles to gain more than 68 yards in one possession. That is, of course, thanks to a defense that consistently provided Herbert and Co. with short fields — and a special teams unit that chipped in with an 87-yard punt return touchdown.
When the defense is succeeding, the offense isn’t expected to carry most of the responsibility. And when short fields are provided to the offense, the Chargers become less predictable, leading to favorable outcomes.
After building a lead, the defense is afforded the chance to focus on pressuring opposing passers. The latter is what produced Los Angeles’ eight sacks, and what Staley believes led his team to a win Monday night.