LA Chargers News

Chargers: When is Derwin James return absolutely necessary?

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 02: Derwin James #33 of the Los Angeles Chargers intercepts a pass thrown by Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first quarter during the game at Heinz Field on December 2, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 02: Derwin James #33 of the Los Angeles Chargers intercepts a pass thrown by Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first quarter during the game at Heinz Field on December 2, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
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CARSON, CA – NOVEMBER 18: Brandon McManus #8 of the Denver Broncos watches his game winning field goal with Derwin James #33 of the Los Angeles Chargers for a 23-22 victory at StubHub Center on November 18, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA – NOVEMBER 18: Brandon McManus #8 of the Denver Broncos watches his game winning field goal with Derwin James #33 of the Los Angeles Chargers for a 23-22 victory at StubHub Center on November 18, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Chargers schedule: Weeks 1-4

Here are their first four games of the regular season:

  1. Home vs Indianapolis Colts
  2. On the road vs Detroit Lions
  3. Home vs Houston Texans
  4. On the road vs Miami Dolphins

The first game of the season will be their toughest of those four, as the Colts are a playoff-caliber team with an exceptional offensive line and rising defense. However, one factor may dramatically shift the outcome of the game in favor of the Chargers: Andrew Luck’s injury. Without him, they are not as potent on offense, though their line will help them remain consistent.

Still, it’s unlikely James would be available for this game, which is four weeks and three days from when he suffered his injury (if it happened on Thursday). The next game features a road trip to Detroit, where the opposing defense is going to be the team’s biggest test. Though their offensive line is average (ranked 15th by Pro Football Focus) the combination of Kenny Golladay, Danny Amendola, T.J. Hockensen, Marvin Jones Jr., and Kerryon Johnson shouldn’t worry a Chargers team with dominant talent on defense. James would be a massive help here, but he’s not necessary to take down the Lions.

In Week 3, the Chargers face maybe the best receiver they’ll go up against all season: DeAndre Hopkins. Paired with him (if healthy) is speedster Will Fuller, as well as Lamar Miller and Duke Johnson Jr. in the backfield. Led by off-and-on quarterback Deshaun Watson (2018 QBR of 61.8), the Texans could become very dangerous. The problem, however, is their offensive line, which is one of the few lines ranked even worse than the Chargers’. The Texans’ line gave up a ridiculous average of 3.8 sacks per game in 2018, which is just music to the ears of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. This game comes down to the offensive lines on both sides, and the Chargers don’t necessarily need James here if the linebackers and defensive line can show up this week.

The Dolphins stink on paper, but they can also upset the New England Patriots in any given year. They have also beaten the Chargers on numerous occasions, most notably a 37-0 shutout in 2014. Still, the Chargers are a much more talented team, and could get by without James here as well.

Four weeks, four games covered. So far, though the Chargers need James, there isn’t a need to rush him back for any of these contests. It’s the benefit of a very talented team, particularly on defense. So when do they need him back?

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