When the San Diego Chargers selected Ryan Carrethers in the fifth round of this year’s NFL Draft, they acquired a highly productive defensive tackle who dominated the collegiate ranks. A two-time All-Sun Belt Conference pick at Arkansas State, he notched 196 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks for the Red Wolves.
While it can take time for rookies to get acclimated to the NFL, the Chargers noted the need for Carrethers to step up in a hurry after injuries ravaged the defensive line. Nose tackle Kwame Geathers and defensive end Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe will both miss the 2014 season after suffering knee injuries on Sunday, joining Damik Scafe to make it three defensive linemen out for the year. Projected starting defensive tackle Sean Lissemore is working his way back from a foot injury while key reserve Lawrence Guy works his way back from a bum shoulder injured in the first preseason game. As such, the Bolts hope to see Carrethers acclimate as quickly as possible to the NFL as he will be pressed into more playing time.
“Its basic philosophy (of) next man up,” said Defensive Coordinator John Pagano. “We’ve got to just keep working different guys in there at that position. Ryan’s got to mature real fast right now for us. Like I said last week he’s getting better with all the things he’s learning. With what we have going there right now, the next guy needs to step up and go. We won’t blank. It’ nothing that will hold us back, but we will just keep pressing forward.”
Pagano was encouraged by Carrethers’ performance last time out against the 49ers, but noted he still has a lot of improving to do.
“He’s still a rookie,” Pagano continued. “He’s going to do rookie things, and it was an eye opener at first to him just being out there with the ones gong against a really good offensive line that San Francisco has. He’s doing better, and he’s got to keep working at it, keep trying to get better every day and take it day by day.”
As far as Carrethers’ feelings on his performance last Sunday, he has an optimistic outlook.
“I think it went well,” he said. “I think it definitely was great exposure and I adapted well. I think I’ll continue to get better….I’ve just got to keep working on my craft.”