The Los Angeles Chargers ended last season on a pretty bad note. Not only did they lose to the New England Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs, but they lost in horrible fashion.
The final score was 41-28 but if you watched the game, the Patriots absolutely dominated the game and left no questions about who the better team was. Even after a lousy performance in their biggest game of the year, there was plenty of reason to believe the Chargers could be just as good, if not better the next season. It is still possible, but it will be harder than previously believed due to injuries and holdouts during training camp.
The most publicized setback of the offseason so far has been the Melvin Gordon holdout. Gordon is a tremendous talent for this Chargers team, so losing him is big. Gordon accounted for 524 of the offensive snaps last year which is 52.66 percent.
That is a very big chunk of production gone. The bright side about this is that he is not injured. If somehow a deal does get done in time for the season, he could potentially jump in and pick up right where he left off last season. If a deal does not get done, the Chargers have depth at running back so this will not make or break the season.
The hardest hitting and most serious injury of the offseason was Russell Okung‘s blood clots. The Chargers have tons of talent and are recognized as a team that also has a lot of depth, but this is not the case at left tackle.
Losing Okung is a huge hit because the offensive line was already arguably the weakest position group on the team heading into training camp. Take away a former Pro Bowl tackle that played 87 percent of the snaps last year and replace him with a very unproven Trent Scott that only played around 12 percent of the team’s snaps last year and things could get ugly.
There have been a few more injuries here and there in training camp that have not really been serious but they are worth noting.
First-round pick Jerry Tillery had not been a full go at camp because of his recovery from his shoulder surgery, but he made his preseason debut on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
Second-round pick Nasir Adderley has been nursing a hamstring issue that was first reported as soreness, but it has been sore for just about the whole camp now. There are reports saying he is close to being a “full go” so we will see soon enough if that is true.
The last minor injury is Keenan Allen‘s ankle. It was reported this week that he will miss the rest of preseason with an ankle injury. Allen is supposed to be back and healthy for Week 1 of the regular season and that is why it’s considered minor.
Coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons there is no need to throw Allen into a preseason game when he is nursing an ankle, the team knows what they get out of him when he is healthy.
The most recent training camp news was also the most shocking.
It was first reported that star safety Derwin James was seen in a walking boot at practice. Shortly after it was reported that the injury was a stress fracture in his foot. After having a whole day to come to terms with it and try and look on the bright side, it was reported the next morning that James will undergo surgery and will be out for three to four months.
Although this is a huge hit to a team that had very big aspirations for the upcoming season, it does not push the whole season down the drain. Safety Adrian Phillips was practicing at strong safety with the first team in place of James and that should ease the pain for Chargers fans just a little bit.
Phillips is coming off of an All-Pro season and is very capable of playing the position well. If Okung comes back at some point in the season there is no reason this team won’t contend for the playoffs and James is scheduled to have a late-season debut.
That could be a big boost in morale for the team and who knows what will happen then. The Chargers might be down right now but you can’t count them out just yet.