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Derrek Tuszka Enters Chargers With Familiarity to DC Renaldo Hill, Scheme

Chargers newcomer Derrek Tuszka has previous experience of playing in Brandon Staley and Renaldo Hill's defensive system.

COSTA MESA – As the Chargers attempt to overcome the multitude of injuries the team has faced through the first three weeks, some positions will rely on their depth to shoulder the load.

Star edge rusher Joey Bosa has been placed on injured reserve and will undergo surgery to his groin. He'll miss at least four weeks and possibly more.

Chris Rumph, the team's fourth-round pick last year, will slide into the starting role with Bosa sidelined. The Chargers also brought in edge rusher Derrek Tuszka for depth purposes, claiming him off waivers from the Titans.

“He played in similar systems. He played special teams at both Denver and Pittsburgh," Staley said of Tuszka. "He comes from a great program at North Dakota State, the Bison. He fits that edge rusher that we’re looking for, that type of player."

A seventh-round pick of the Broncos in 2020, Tuszka spent his rookie season in Denver, where Chargers defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill was on staff.

Tuszka comes to Los Angeles having had familiarity with Hill, but also the defensive scheme that the Chargers run. Tuszka said Thursday, his first day in the building since joining the Chargers, that Staley's defense should be a rather smooth transition due to the concepts that overlap from his days of playing for Broncos coach Vic Fangio.

"There's a lot of crossover so it makes for an easy transition," Tuszka said of the defensive scheme.

Hill said Tuszka will provide special teams value on Day 1. Tuszka's versatility and prior knowledge of the scheme have the coaches encouraged that he can pick up where he left off and continue to develop.

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"He’s a guy who can come in here and learn his job within a couple of days and be able to dispel you," Hill said. "He’s been a part of this system before, so, I think, just the verbiage will be him translating a few things here and there, but he should be able to spot us in some areas and continue to grow into that role.”

Tuszka will have just two practices in the books before the Chargers take the field on Sunday to face the Texans. 

"It's really just diving into the playbook, learning that, getting reps out on the field, and getting comfortable, but a lot of film study," Tuszka said on what he has to do this week to be prepared come game day.

Tuszka joins an edge rusher group that consists of Bosa, who's out with injury, Khalil Mack, Chris Rumph and Kyle Van Noy, who's expected to contribute off the edge on occasional basis.

"I think it's going to benefit me tremendously," Tuszka said, joining a position group with Bosa and Mack being a sounding board of knowledge. "Just with the veterans in that group, in that room, just asking them questions. There's a lot of knowledge, a lot of ball that they've played so hopefully I can take a bunch of that and put it towards my game."


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Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.