Overreaction 2: Joshua Kelley has not only passed Justin Jackson as the RB2, but he has risen to be an RB1b next to Austin Ekeler.
One of the biggest bright spots of Week 1 was clearly Joshua Kelley. Kelley was efficient with decent volume in his first career game, producing 60 yards on 12 carries and scoring the only touchdown of the day for the LA Chargers.
— NFL (@NFL) September 13, 2020
Kelley did not look like any rookie on Sunday. He ran with authority and decisiveness, taking full advantage of his stature to break tackles along the way.
If we include receiving production, Kelley only had 8 fewer touches and 27 yards less than Austin Ekeler.
When Kelley was drafted, he appeared to be a perfect complement to Ekeler due to his downhill running style with the versatility necessary for work on any down that Ekeler needs a break.
Given this and his excellent Week 1 performance, is it fair to say that Kelley has surpassed Justin Jackson on the depth chart and risen to the point that he is set to receive a workload similar to Austin Ekeler in future weeks?
While Kelley showed in Week 1 that he belongs and has a role in the Chargers backfield, it is too early for such a bold statement.
Kelley likely only received such a substantial role due to a quad injury that took Justin Jackson out of the game. When the shifty Jackson returns, it is likely that he will take more of Kelley’s snaps as opposed to Ekeler’s.
Furthermore, the Chargers failed to utilize Austin Ekeler in the passing game in Week 1, which is completely inexcusable and a trend that the Chargers are sure to correct in Week 2. With this additional role, Kelley will not be reaching the volume of Ekeler.
Despite this, there is some truth to this statement.
In response to a question from Daniel Popper regarding Kelley’s play, Anthony Lynn said “It would’ve been hard to win that game without Joshua today.”
If Coach Lynn believes the Chargers cannot win without Joshua Kelley, then you can bet that he is not far away from becoming a 1b to Ekeler’s 1a.
Verdict 2: Slight overreaction