It seems every week we write about Derwin James, talking about how good he’s playing while also stressing the need to temper expectations.
Yet every week, the rookie gives us another reason to sing his praises.
That was once again the case in the Bolts’ 29-27 win over the San Francisco 49ers. James was all over the place, recording seven tackles, one sack, three quarterback hits, one tackle for loss and three passes defensed.
James recorded his third sack of the year when he took down C.J. Beathard on third down early in the fourth quarter. In the process, he became the first defensive back in NFL history to record three sacks in his first four career games.
He almost made it four when he hit Beathard with just over two minutes remaining. Instead of a sack, he ended up dislodging the ball to force a game-sealing interception by Isaac Rochell.
“Derwin is an unbelievable athlete,” said Kyle Emanuel. “It’s fun to watch as a teammate, and it’s awesome to have him on your side. He can do a lot of things on the field, and he does a lot of it really well. I’m excited just to see him keep getting better and better…. I think it’s going to be scary (to watch him grow). I’m excited to see it, and I’m glad he’s on our side.”
Philip Rivers was also quick to sing James’ praises, pointing out how special he’s been early in his career.
“He’s been great,” Rivers said. “He has the demeanor, and he’s made the plays obviously, but he has the demeanor of one of those double-digit year safeties. That’s what he is. He will ascend in a hurry to that kind of role. That’s just his demeanor (with) the way he plays, the passion he has and the aggression he plays with. He was a heck of a pick. I’m glad he’s on our side.”
While his teammates are quick to laud James, the rookie is equally fast to credit the coaching staff for his fast start in 2018.
“I think it’s my coaches preparing me,” he said, grateful for Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley, Defensive Backs Coach Ron Milus and Assistant Defensive Backs Coach Chris Harris. “They have a lot do with it. Also, for God blessing me with my ability. Like I said, when I mix that together, you see what happens.”