The LA Chargers are going to be without Chris Harris for some time.
Chris Harris exited the LA Chargers‘ loss to the Carolina Panthers with an apparent foot injury and on Monday, the severity of the injury was revealed. NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Harris is expected to miss at least a month and up to six weeks.
Based on this one-month timeline, a likely (early) return date that we can expect is Week 8 (November 1) against the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, with the timing of the injury, I would not be shocked to see Harris return all the way in Week 11 after the bye against the Denver Broncos.
Harris was one of the big signings of the offseason and was expected to make an already solid secondary even better. Harris has primarily been the slot corner for the Chargers and quite frankly, he has not been fantastic.
Harris has an overall 59.9 defensive grade on Pro Football Focus. He has been targeted 13 times in three games, allowing nine receptions for 146 yards. It has not been a great start for Harris, but the Chargers are still going to miss him.
The impact of Chris Harris’s injury for the LA Chargers:
The likely path for the Chargers to take is to play Desmond King at slot corner. King played a fair amount of slot corner last season and was not good in that role — much worse than Harris has even been thus far this season.
However, King has been better this season, which is a promising sign. It should be mentioned that his good production is coming as a rotational safety, not as a slot corner.
But still, with King being in a contract year, I don’t think he can be any worse than Harris has been thus far. He has not been good. I do not expect some big drop off from Harris to King.
Where this really hurts the Chargers is at safety. This removes King (mostly) from the safety rotation, again exposing the depth of the position. Rayshawn Jenkins was banged up in Week 2 but returned in Week 3 and Nasir Adderley was hurt in Week 3. Adderley came back into the game.
However, it shows how close the Chargers could be to a disaster at safety and quite frankly, Adderley has been a bit underwhelming through three games (but that is what happens when there is no preseason for a young player).
With King needing to spend more time at slot corner, the Chargers’ depth at the safety position now becomes rookie Alohi Gilman and former Charger and current practice squad player, Jahleel Addae.
If that sounds bad it is because it is bad. That is awful depth for the safety position.
The Chargers could go another direction in case of emergency. King can fill in at center and the team can have the speedy Michael Davis at slot corner with Brandon Facyson at the second outside corner.
Again — if that sounds bad it is because it is bad.
Harris might not be playing great thus far but he is still a veteran presence on this defense that helps with the depth of the secondary. Losing him for 4-6 weeks is a huge blow and one the LA Chargers are going to have to navigate perfectly to avoid disaster.