The defensive line was one of the youngest position groups on the entire team, but they performed admirably with a productive season in 2013. Led by a pair of rising bookend defensive ends, the line was a key part of a defense that peaked at the right time.
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Spearheading the defensive line was Corey Liuget, who continued to grow in his third year in the league. San Diego’s first-round pick in 2011 led the defensive line in every major statistical category. He finished with 50 tackles while leading the entire team in sacks (5.5), tackles for a loss (10), pressures (17) and quarterback hits (18). Liuget was also one of the team’s top performers in the postseason, especially in the Wild Card win over the Cincinnati Bengals when he had five tackles, one sack, a tackle for loss, one pass broken up and a quarterback hit.
Kendall Reyes manned the other defensive end spot and finished second to Liuget in a number of categories. They included sacks (5.0), pressures (13) and quarterback hits (16). Reyes also saw a sharp increase in playing time during his sophomore season from his rookie year. He started all 16 games after starting just four in 2012 while his tackles increased from 28 to 42.
The man in the middle for the majority of the season was Cam Thomas. His season got off to a terrific start when he intercepted his first-career pass on the very first snap of the season. He also finished strong with a season-high three tackles for loss in the regular-season finale against Kansas City. Overall, Thomas had 30 tackles including seven for a loss.
General Manager Tom Telesco acquired Sean Lissemore from the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a future seventh-round draft choice, and the versatile lineman had a successful first season for the Bolts. Playing mainly in the middle, he had 31 tackles, two sacks and five tackles for a loss. His most memorable moment came against the Washington Redskins when he made a heads up play in the end zone to cradle in a deflected pass for a pick six.
Lissemore wasn’t the only defensive lineman Telesco acquired as he claimed Lawrence Guy off waivers early in the year from the Indianapolis Colts. Guy finished the year with 18 tackles, but he is at his best getting his long arms in the way of passing lanes. He tied Liuget and Manti Te’o for most passes defensed for a front-seven player with four. In fact, he was the man who deflected the pass that Lissemore caught for a touchdown. Guy had another noteworthy play that game when he blocked what looked like a chip-shot field goal for the Redskins.
Finally, Kwame Geathers played mainly a reserve role, finishing the season with three tackles. The undrafted rookie defensive tackle was active for seven games.