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If Chargers linebacker Thomas Davis were a quarterback, he would be considered pretty old.  But Davis isn’t a quarterback. He’s a linebacker, and he’s, uh, 36.  

In linebacker years, that’s like, I don’t know…91?

Since entering the league in 2005, Davis has been a virtual playmaking machine, collecting 1,111 tackles, including six 100-plus tackle seasons for Carolina before the Bolts scooped him up in free agency in the offseason. Through two games with Los Angeles, Davis is tied with former teammate Luke Kuechly for the league lead with 26 tackles.  

Amazingly, in those first two games, Davis is the only player over the age of 28 to be in the top twenty in tackles.  

But it’s not just the tackles or the fact that he’s making them at his advanced football age. The most impactful aspect of Davis’s season thus far has simply been his presence. With all the news-grabbing, big-name free agent signings across the NFL last March, it seems there wasn’t much of a need for a linebacker with the ability to carry a defense on his back when said defense desperately needs a pick-me-up.

The Bolts defense has now established themselves as having one of the league’s premier pass-rushing fronts. Names like Bosa and Ingram will be mentioned for years to come as two of the greats in the league when it comes to getting after the quarterback. And the Chargers secondary, even in the absence of 2nd-year stud safety Derwin James, seems, at least at times, to have playmakers to spare.

The game has changed a lot over the past decade or so, with passing now overshadowing the running game (thanks, Mr. Obvious), but the defense still starts (and sometimes ends) with stopping the run. And when the Chargers need a stop, they seem to invariably be able to rely on a 36-year-old man to be there to make it. Davis has been a one man show for L.A. through these first two weeks.  

Thomas Davis looks like a remarkable pickup so far for GM Tom Telesco and Co. But how long can a guy who’s, you know, 36 years-old keep it up? Is fourteen more games too much to ask?

Mike Clark

Author Mike Clark

Founder of the sports blog Member, Football Writers Association of America

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