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Los Angeles Chargers All-Decade Team: The Defense & Special Teams

Here is the Los Angeles Chargers All-Decade Team for the 2010s. This article focuses on the defenses and special teams players.
Chargers All-Decade Team

The 2010s were a fairly turbulent decade for the Los Angeles Chargers. Five seasons saw them finish with winning records, but only twice did they make the playoffs (one of those being a 12-4 season). It ultimately saw the end of the Philip Rivers era, which ended without any Super Bowl berths. Thus, despite a couple of bright years, the 2010s was ultimately most a decade of disappointment. But there still was a fair share of good players that came and went during that time. Here, we’ll get to see those players who did the best for the team during the decade and deserve to be remembered for their efforts. So without further ado, here is the 2010s Los Angeles Chargers All-Decade Team. This article focuses on the defense and special teams, and will be following a 3-4 defensive lineup.

Los Angeles Chargers All-Decade Team: The Offense

Los Angeles Chargers All-Decade Team: Defense and Special Teams


Defensive End: Joey Bosa

This proved to be one of Tom Telesco’s best draft picks thus far. Joey Bosa has turned into one of the best defensive linemen and pass-rushers in football, as he’s been an absolute nightmare for quarterbacks. He’s gotten at least 10 sacks in three of his four seasons so far – and the one time he didn’t, it was only because he was out for over half the season. He’s ultimately become one of the main faces of the team, and deservedly so. If Derwin James didn’t exist, he’d probably be their defensive MVP.

Defensive Tackle: Antonio Garay

Antonio Garay only had a couple of good seasons in 2010 and 2011, but they were both pretty good ones. 2010 saw him rack up five and a half sacks and 48 combined tackles, both of which led all Chargers defensive linemen for 2010. His 2011 season, though lower in sacks, was no slouch either. However, he didn’t start a single game in 2012 and only played eight games and was released afterwards. His good days with the Chargers were short, but they were good enough to make him the best defensive/nose tackle of the decade for the team.

Defensive End: Melvin Ingram

Melvin Ingram was drafted as a linebacker and was already good in that role. But eventually, the team realized he fit better as a pass-rusher and defensive end. Then Bosa was drafted, and the Chargers created one of the best pass-rusher duos in the league. Bosa may be the better of the two, but Ingram’s no slouch either. He’s had two 10-sack seasons and made the Pro Bowl from 2017 to 2019. His talents have further expanded recently as he’s nabbed an interception each of the last two years.

Outside Linebacker: Jarret Johnson

Jarret Johnson’s best years were behind him by the time he joined the Chargers, but he still gave them a few decent years from 2012 to 2014. Perhaps this is more a testament to a lack of options to put here at this position, but Johnson was a fairly consistent starter for a short while and one of the few actually good (even if not great) outside linebackers they’ve had the entire decade.

Middle Linebacker: Takeo Spikes

Another player whose best days were behind him and joined the Chargers for his last years make this list? Yeah, that’s a sign of just how average at best the linebacker corps has been over the past decade. Still, even though he only spent two years there, he didn’t miss a single game and squeezed one more 100-tackle season out. Spikes may have been out of his prime, but he did pretty well for a linebacker in his mid-30’s.

Middle Linebacker: Denzel Perryman

Denzel Perryman’s not a Pro Bowl linebacker, and it does say something about the state of the Chargers linebackers over the last decade that he’s easily one of the best – especially given his injury proneness. But he’s a quite solid and complete linebacker when he’s out there. And it does also say something that whenever he does go down, the fan reaction always involves worry about the performance of the defense without him.

Outside Linebacker: Shaun Phillips

The majority of Shaun Phillips’ best years with the Chargers came during the 2000s, but he still put together a couple of quite good years during his last few there. 2010 saw him put up 11 sacks and get his first and only Pro Bowl berth. 2011 saw him struggle due to an injury, but he bounced back in 2012. Given that he had one more 10-sack season after he left, they may have let him walk too soon. Regardless, he did enough in a short span of time to warrant inclusion on the Chargers All-Decade Team.

Cornerback: Casey Hayward

Casey Hayward ended up being a huge free agent signing for the Chargers – a clear case of his prior team the Green Bay Packers giving up too quickly. He had his best career season in 2016 with the Chargers, and garnered Pro Bowl berths in both 2016 and 2017, with 11 interceptions over the course of those two seasons. The last two seasons haven’t been quite as stellar, but he’s still been the one clear-cut starter the Chargers know they can depend upon at the position. He hasn’t missed a single game since he arrived.

Cornerback: Quentin Jammer

This one’s a little closer than you might think, because Jammer’s best days were mostly behind him by the 2010s, and Antoine Cason put up more stats overall. Problem is, Cason was also a lot more inconsistent, which resulted in him eventually fading. Jammer (also a fan favorite) was more consistent and also quite good at staying healthy. He also got the lone pick-six of his career in the 2010s… against none other than Peyton Manning. Not bad.

Free Safety: Eric Weddle

Eric Weddle was one of two former Chargers players to make the official NFL All-Decade Team. It’s a shame that things ended poorly between the two sides, as he was not only the best safety of the decade for the team, he’s also the best free safety they’ve ever had. He made three Pro Bowls in six years with the Chargers during the 2010s, and also nabbed 15 interceptions as well as having two 100-tackle seasons. The Chargers have been struggling to fill the void at free safety ever since he left.

Strong Safety: Derwin James

Derwin James has barely played for a season and a half due to an injury in 2019, but he’s been more than good enough and his rookie 2018 season was impactful enough to earn him a spot here (besides, the next best option would’ve been Jahleel Addae). James had an absurd season for a rookie, having 105 tackles, 13 pass deflections, three interceptions, and 3.5 sacks. He made the Pro Bowl as a result, and in a normal year – a normal year where Darius Leonard didn’t exist – he would’ve been Defensive Rookie of the Year. The guy’s a safety, but he can play everywhere on the field and as such is definitely a problem for opposing offenses. Hopefully, he can stay healthy during the next decade.

Special Teams

Kicker: Nick Novak

Michael Badgley could’ve easily ended up here; however, he’s only played 18 games in two seasons, due in part to missing half the 2019 season. Instead, Novak gets the nod here. He had a bit of a rough start in 2011 with seven missed field goals, but he eventually proved to be a good replacement for Nate Kaeding, who was getting knocked out of the league at that point by injuries. He went over 90% in field goal percentage twice for the Chargers and was quite reliable for game-deciding kicks. After getting cut in 2015, he made a brief return in the 2017 carousel of Chargers kickers and hit one more game-winner for them before getting injured.

Punter: Mike Scifres

Mike Scifres remains the best punter the Chargers have ever had, and will probably be well remembered for giving us an absurdly rare occasion where a punter proved critical to winning a playoff game. He didn’t have a repeat of that in the 2010s, but he was still as good as ever. They haven’t been able to find anybody as good since.

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