LA Chargers: Desmond King has to play better to replace Chris Harris

Desmond King will need to play at his highest level as a slot corner to try and replace Chris Harris for the LA Chargers.

Just a little over a week ago, Desmond King complained about the lack of playing time he was receiving on the LA Chargers publicly. With Chris Harris out for a month due to a foot injury, he’ll get his wish. Anthony Lynn named King the starting slot corner in Harris’ absence yesterday:

In a contract year, this type of opportunity falling into King’s lap could not be overstated. King looked to be slipping out of the rotation for this season and the future. A month where he gets to show what he can do is huge for him and potentially holds some ramifications for the defense down the line.

In terms of how the LA Chargers will play, it will likely be similar to what we saw for large stretches of last season. Casey Hayward starts at the first cornerback spot. Michael Davis, who was splitting time with Harris for CB2, likely gets the full time start there.

King being the full-time starting corner might not mean that he plays exactly the same way though. Gus Bradley in his Thursday morning presser said that he’s considering rotating King and Nasir Adderley between safety and nickel corner.

That would be a departure from the previous seasons with King at slot corner, considering the Chargers didn’t have a free safety they felt comfortable rotating in.

The secondary over the next month, barring further injuries, should look something like:

  • Hayward-CB1
  • Davis-CB2
  • King-Nickel/Safety
  • Rayshawn Jenkins-SS
  • Nasir-FS/rotation

Obviously, Harris is still a big loss for the Chargers. Over the course of the first three weeks, him and Joey Bosa have been the defensive players that have impressed me the most. He’s a Hall of Fame slot corner at the end of the day.

But, there is some solace to be taken in the fact that the Chargers are going with someone who knows the system and is talented. There’s luckily no practice squad call up into the starting role in this situation.

While I’m fairly confident that he can hold the fort down with Harris out, his 2019 season does concern me. King allowed career highs in passer rating, reception percentage, and yards per reception.

Some chalk that up to a down year, but he also was a healthy scratch for one week. We don’t know the reason, but it does sound like it was a team suspension without the Chargers formally saying it.

As mentioned earlier, King aired his frustrations about lack of playing time on social media. Anthony Lynn responded to that by saying he was “disappointed” in the posts. While we don’t know for sure if his playing time decreased in the Panthers matchup due to the tweets, one has to assume there’s a pretty direct correlation there.

Chargers fans know what King is capable of based on his 2017 and 2018 season. It’s his responsibility now to play to that level. The Buccaneers’ receiving corps isn’t the best, but they are still a challenge with Tom Brady at the helm. Michael Thomas will likely be back in Week 5, so the first few games definitely don’t get off to an easy start for King.

Next: Chargers' improvements that need to be made in Week 4

If King wants that lucrative deal in the offseason, this is his opportunity to get it. The LA Chargers’ defense depends on him now more than ever.