Several players have benefited from head coach Brandon Staley’s scheme early on, but one of the most notable defenders is third-year safety Nasir Adderley.
After having his rookie season hampered by an injury and experiencing highs and lows in his play in Gus Bradley’s defense last year, Adderley has flashed play-making abilities in the first two games.
Utilized as a deep safety, in the slot and in the box, Adderley has not only made plays in coverage, but he has shown improvement as a tackler in the run department, something he struggled with a season ago.
Adderley has been playing with the athletic twitch and coordination to match offensive skill players, as well as the ability to anticipate well and trust his diagnose skills to put himself in position to make plays.
The Chargers defense probably feels better about moving James around when Safety #24 Nasir Adderly plays like this.
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) September 16, 2021
While he has consistently been around the football, Adderley had two opportunities to come away with turnovers, one against Washington and the other against the Cowboys. However, he wasn’t able to finish on both occasions.
Adderley attributed his inability to wrap his hands around the football due to a dislocated finger injury that he sustained in college, adding that it has only gotten worse since then but he has been doing hand therapy to help with the recovery process.
“I’ve never had a problem coming down with interceptions and stuff like that,” Adderley said. “I am dealing with a little something with my finger going on, like a dislocation but trying to figure out a way because it is affecting how to catch the ball.”
Heading into this weekend’s game against the Chiefs, Adderley will be an integral piece to neutralizing tight end Travis Kelce and wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman to prevent Kansas City’s high-powered offense from getting hot.
That means staying sticky in coverage, making stops in the open field and coming down with the plays if he’s in position to make them because it does not happen all that often that quarterback Patrick Mahomes turns the ball over.