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10 Things to Watch: Adjusting to Gus

In a season of change, one of the biggest for the Bolts will be on defense.

While they are still led by some of the game's top playmakers, including Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett among others, they'll operate under the tutelage of Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley.

One of the league's most respected defensive minds, his arrival also means the Chargers will operate in a 4-3 defense for the first time in decades. How the team adjusts to Bradley's system will go a long way toward success in 2017.

Luckily, the early returns from the offseason program look promising. 

Still, watching how the defense performs once the pads come on as well as in preseason play will be the best indication of how the Chargers are adapting to Bradley's vision.

Edge rushes like Melvin Ingram and Jerry Attaochu will now line up with their hand in the dirt at defensive end instead of outside linebacker.  The safeties will have different responsibilities, chiefly with one playing up top in a single high look.

Fans will get their first look at those and other changes in person when the team takes the field at Jack Hammett Sports Complex beginning this Sunday.

Before spending the last four seasons as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bradley served as the Seattle Seahawks' Defensive Coordinator from 2009-12.  Over that span, he established Seattle as the premiere defense in the NFL.  The Seahawks ranked sixth in total defense (319.2 ypg) from 2011-12, third in points per game (17.5), fifth in takeaways (62), first in opponents passer rating (73.2) and fifth in interceptions (40).

A key member of those Seahawks teams was nose tackle Brandon Mebane, who now reunites with Bradley in L.A. Enthused to once again play under the defensive coordinator, Mebane shared his excitement with his teammates shortly after the hire was made public.

"He's going to come in, and really focus on all the details and stress turnovers," he said at the time.  "He is so detail oriented; I mean, man, he is very detail oriented. And he is also big on turnovers.  There are a lot of things he (emphasizes), but those are the two biggest ones.  I'm just really excited.  I'm getting a coordinator I'm really familiar with, and he's a great coach.  I'm excited for our team.  We know where we are going to play, and have all that uncertainty behind us. And now to see our coaching staff come together, it's going to be very exciting to see what's to come."


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