LA Chargers: Why Justin Jones is such a vital piece to the defense

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(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) – LA Chargers /

The LA Chargers have missed Justin Jones for the past three weeks due to a shoulder injury.

When talking about the current injuries the LA Chargers are dealing with, quite a few names will come up before Justin Jones.

Austin Ekeler, Derwin James, Melvin Ingram, Bryan Bulaga, Chris Harris, etc. are some of the injured players that fans will point out before mentioning Jones. However, I’d argue that the former NC State product’s eventual return from the IR is a much bigger deal than people think.

Here is why Justin Jones is more important to the LA Chargers than you may think.

Run defense

Through the first two games this season prior to the injury, Jones had the second-highest run defense PFF grade. Other than Joey Bosa, no Charger has been better at containing the run.

Looking closer at those first two games, you see that the Chargers were basically able to shut the running game out completely. Joe Mixon had 19 carries for 69 yards in Week 1.

A couple of Joe Burrow rushes were needed to save what would’ve been an awful rushing day there. In Week 2, Patrick Mahomes led his team in rushing with 54 yards while Clyde Edwards-Helaire struggled to get just 38 rushing yards.

With the influence of Jones on a healthy defensive line, the Chargers were able to play great defense against the run. He isn’t the only factor, but he sure is an important one.

Being the only young run-stuffing tackle on the team, he has to be available in the last 11 games. With running backs like Edwards-Helaire, Le’Veon Bell, Josh Jacobs, and Devin Singletary coming down the pike later this season, Jones needs to be available.