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Tremaine Tracker: How Chargers took advantage of Edmunds in pass coverage

It's not shocking that longtime Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and veteran quarterback Philip Rivers decided to repeatedly attack Buffalo Bills' 20-year-old rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds in coverage in Los Angeles' win against Buffalo in Week 2.

Despite his immense size, ridiculous athleticism, and two pass breakups in Week 1, the Chargers made sure they stressed Edmunds while he sank into zone and when asked to cover man-to-man. And the results were very favorable for Rivers and Co.

Edmunds allowed six catches for 66 yards and a touchdown in Week 2.

Range tackles Impact tackles Initial contact plays
vs. Los Angeles 3 1 1

 

His range was on display when he needed to get to the numbers on pass plays, and he did so three times for range tackles. (For a refresher on the proprietary statistics in Tremaine Tracker, check back to the first installment.)

Arguably his best play of the game was a quick run fill that led to an impact tackle at the line of scrimmage.

Block-shed tackles No shed Missed tackles
vs. Los Angeles 2 2 3

 

The missed tackles were an issue and came against the run and pass, although Keenan Allen – who Edmunds covered a fair amount in the second half – is undoubtedly a difficult cover for most cornerbacks much less even one of the game's most athletically gifted linebackers.

As for his efforts shedding blocks, it was another even performance for Edmunds. He was very willing and aggressive when taking on blocks but wasn't always effective shedding offensive linemen.

Pressures per pass-rush snaps Pass breakups Receptions/yards allowed in coverage
vs. Los Angeles 1/3 0 6/66/1 TD

 

Edmunds flew through one of the A gaps in the first half to force Rivers into an early throw.  He was used as a blitzer on two other occasions but failed to generate pressure.

After a strong start to his NFL career, Buffalo's second of two first-round picks in 2018 received a "welcome to the NFL" outing against a high-caliber quarterback.

Edmunds has the speed and twitchiness to thrive in coverage, but he'll learn that even one false step can lead to an offensive player creating enough separation for a pass to be completed and yardage to accumulate after the catch.

Against the run, Edmunds didn't look out of sorts but had only one impact tackle as opposed to three in Week 1's loss to Baltimore.

Here are Edmunds' updated season stats:

Range tackles Impact tackles Initial contact plays
Through Week 2 4 4 3 (1 nullified by penalty)

 

Block-shed tackles No shed Missed tackles
Through Week 2 5 5 5

 

Pressures per pass-rush snaps Pass breakups Receptions/yards allowed in coverage
Through Week 2 2/4 2 7/90/1 TD

 

Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier acknowledged that the Chargers "tried some things" on Edmunds.

"Tremaine, he’s going to get better every single week so what they may see on tape today, may not be there on Sunday if they want to try some of those things, but he’s going to get better," Frazier said. "He’s going to learn from his mistakes and improve on some of the things that he’s done well. So, we’re not overly concerned with where he is when it comes to pass coverage because we know that he’s going to become better the more he sees things, and he’ll just keep progressing."

Edmunds will face another heady quarterback in Kirk Cousins on the road in Week 3 when the Bills take on the Minnesota Vikings.

"He’s a young player," coach Sean McDermott said. "He battles. I mean, the guy’s a warrior. He plays hard, he plays every snap to the whistle and through the whistle. He’s going to be fine. He’s just got to continue to grow and get the experience that he needs at this point."

If the large linebacker can respond well to a bad performance in coverage against the Chargers, it'll be a big boost to Buffalo's defensive efforts.

'A big growth process': Bills LB Edmunds reacts after tough outing

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