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Why Gus Bradley Encouraged Philip Rivers to Keep Beating Bolts Deep 


The Los Angeles Chargers finished third-overall against the pass in Gus Bradley's first season as defensive coordinator.

While they were impressive defending the opposition's aerial assault, it's something they believe they can be even better at in 2018.

On Friday, the secondary was tested multiple times by Philip Rivers. The offense took deep shot after deep shot, converting many of them for big gains including explosive plays from Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin and Artavis Scott among others.

If you think Bradley was ticked off, think again.

While the big play is something the team obviously wants to eliminate when it counts, he was actually happy to see the offense make those plays Friday against his defense.

In fact, Bradley said when the offense has this type of success against them, he encourages Rivers to keep going deep again and again.

"I just go by him and I say, 'We love that! We need that!'" he said.  "(Philip's) going to do what he has to do, but I know we appreciate anytime they do some things like that."

So, why is Bradley happy to see his defense get beat?

Basically, he's thrilled to have "teachable moments" to put on tape so that the defense can fix whatever went wrong, ensuring those plays don't happen when it actually counts.

"We need this," Bradley explained. "We had some balls that went deep on us. We need to test our safeties back there and see how they're playing. We haven't had as much of that throughout camp, and then today, it came up. We'll be able to put them on tape and they'll understand, it will be a clearer picture why our philosophy is the way it is. I think it's very good — and they were talking about the sideline about it — until you really experience that, it's hard to keep harping on it."

Eliminating the explosive play is a major point of emphasis for Bradley. 

He's proud of the way his team limited them in 2017, but is keenly aware it's an area the defense can't get complacent over. They must always be cognizant of eliminating, or at least limiting, those chunk plays.

"That's really our philosophy; to try and limit explosive plays," he said. "I think it's a stat proven in the league that if you can limit explosive plays, it has a direct correlation with the points. It's an important part of our defense, so to have some today, like I said, it will be a good, teachable moment."

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