Injuries are beginning to have a major impact on the Los Angeles Chargers this season.
After drafting Derwin James and putting him in a secondary that already had Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett, many were looking forward to the Chargers having the best secondary in the NFL. With Gus Bradley as defensive coordinator, visions of a new Legion of Boom began to form.
But it never came to fruition.
Verrett couldn’t stay healthy and the team moved on from him, but Trevor Williams showed he could be a solid replacement. The team could still have the best secondary in the league on the abilities of Hayward and James plus some decent play behind them.
That hasn’t happened either.
James was hurt during training camp and will miss a large portion of the season. Williams has still yet to recover from a lingering injury and was recently placed on injured reserve. Oh, but it gets worse.
More bad injury news for the #Chargers: S Adrian Phillips, who hurt himself trying to tackle #Lions RB Kerryon Johnson Sunday, broke his arm, source said. He’s out for several weeks, but it may not be season-ending. He had been filling in for star Derwin James.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 16, 2019
That’s exactly what the team didn’t need. Adrian Phillips has been a key piece of the defense for some time and the fact that he was there softened the blow following the tough injury to James. Now he’s hurt too and will be out for a considerable amount of time if he returns this year at all.
What does that leave the team with in the secondary?
Hayward is still there and his counterparts at cornerback include Michael Davis and Brandon Facyson, two very average players, at best. Desmond King is there, and he is great at what he does, but do the Chargers want to put him on the outside?
With James and Phillips down at the safety position, the team will be forced to rely on Rayshawn Jenkins and Jaylen Watkins. They are both decent rotational backups, but not the best every-down starters.
That makes it paramount for second-round pick Nasir Adderley to get a chance and prove he can make a difference. That’s one of the only good options the Chargers have left.
There are two terrific defensive backs that want out of their current situations and could be available via trade. Minkah Fitzpatrick of the Miami Dolphins is looking for a new home and recently, Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey has stated that he wants out after a sideline confrontation with head coach Doug Marrone.
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Chargers fans will be pounding the desk for the team to make a move for one of these guys and it would be quite refreshing to see, but unless the organization does something completely out of character, it likely won’t happen.
Instead, teams like the New England Patriots or the Kansas City Chiefs will acquire one of those players and leave the Chargers by the wayside as they run toward the Super Bowl. That’s awfully pessimistic, but probably not too far off, either.
Injuries are beginning to wreak havoc on the big plans the Chargers had this season. Yes, it’s too early to say the “sky is falling” after a loss to the Detroit Lions. But when you put into perspective that the Chargers played poorly, scored just six points and have all of these injuries, it’s more than concerning.
There are options on the table. Will Tom Telesco make a bold move? Or will the Chargers just stand pat and hope they can weather the storm?