We’ve seen this episode before. You know, the one where the Los Angeles Chargers experience one injury after another.
The season hasn’t even started yet and Russell Okung is going to miss some time to begin the season. Star wide receiver Keenan Allen is scheduled to miss the rest of the preseason with an ankle injury and now, Derwin James has gone down, one of the last players on the entire roster you want to see get hurt.
The injuries are beginning to mount for a team that has been snakebitten in that department over the course of what seems like several years and the concerning part of James’ recent foot injury is that there is no timetable for his return. It could be something he easily overcomes but it is just as likely to be something that lingers for much of the season.
How many of these injuries can the team get up and brush itself off after? One could argue that these are the three players on this team that simply can’t be lost due to injury.
Though Allen is not expected to miss a significant amount of time, the depth at wide receiver takes a massive hit without him. Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin would become the starters and there would be nothing but question marks behind them.
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In the case of Okung, there is probably not a player currently on the roster who can adequately replace him, but Trent Scott is likely to get the chance to spell him during his absence, however long that may be. Some have called for the team to trade for a guy like Trent Williams of the Washington Redskins, but that is becoming exceedingly unlikely.
James can’t be replaced. He is a unique player with the ability to be one of the best overall defenders in football. You don’t have those kinds of players on the bench no matter what team you are. The Chargers have options to replace him in second-round pick Nasir Adderley, Adrian Phillips, Rayshawn Jenkins and Jaylen Watkins. But since James does so much, it will likely be a mixture of those guys.
If that sounds like a lot to digest, it’s because it is. We can attempt to downplay these injuries all we want to, but it wouldn’t be truthful to say it’s not a concern.
The Chargers have a long season in front of them and if Okung, Allen and James miss an extended period of time, it could shorten the Chargers’ season significantly and derail the team’s championship drive.