LA Chargers News

LA Chargers: Rookie report card heading into bye week

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - OCTOBER 12: Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers hands the ball off to Joshua Kelley #27 during their NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 12, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - OCTOBER 12: Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers hands the ball off to Joshua Kelley #27 during their NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 12, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) – LA Chargers

Joshua Kelley: D+

2020 stats: 63 carries, 203 yards (3.2 yards per attempt), 1 TD, 8 receptions, 93 receiving yards, 2 fumbles

This might be a surprising grade to give Joshua Kelley, especially after he made history in Week 1 and I was the guy that dedicated an entire article to tell you about it. The fact of the matter is, though, that Kelley has not been very good since that Week 1 showdown against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Kelley carried the ball 12 times for 60 yards with a touchdown in Week 1 and after that showing it seemed to justify the Chargers spending a fourth-round pick on a running back despite having more pressing needs. They seemed to like Kelley and we saw that translate to results early on.

However, it has been bad since then. He carried the ball 23 times for 64 yards in Week 2, carried the ball eight times for 42 in Week 3, committing one of the costly turnovers against the Panthers and carried the ball nine times for seven yards in Week 4, again, committing a very costly turnover.

With Austin Ekeler out in Week 5, the Chargers instead turned to Justin Jackson more often than Kelley and Kelley only picked up 29 yards on 11 carries.

There are 23 running backs in the NFL this season that have carried the ball at least 60 times this season. Kelley has the second-lowest yards per carry, only ahead of 37-year-old Frank Gore.

It is clear that Cincinnati has one of the worst run defenses in the league (they allow the third-most rushing yards per game) and Kelley is still a very raw prospect. That does not mean that he will have a bad rookie year or be a bad running back, he is just off to a very slow start.

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