Overreaction #2: Kalen Ballage should be the head back until Austin Ekeler returns and deserves a roster spot over Justin Jackson moving forward
The LA Chargers have dealt with a ton of injuries this year, and that has included Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson being placed on IR.
Surprisingly, those injuries, in particular, have not been extremely important considering that the Chargers have gotten excellent production out of Kalen Ballage.
In Week 10, Ballage ran for 69 yards and a touchdown on 4.6 yards per carry. In Week 11, Ballage ran for 68 yards on 3.8 yards per carry. He also showed soft hands, making several catches and producing 34 receiving yards as well.
While the offensive line has not been bad blocking for the run in recent weeks, Ballage has been running hard and producing plenty of yards on his own.
Simply put, Ballage is the best back that the Chargers have right now, and, even more, it is clear that he is fighting hard on every down. Few Chargers are pushing as hard as he is right now on every down.
But, can we say now that he is good enough to overtake Justin Jackson as the third back on the roster once everyone returns to full health?
Joshua Kelley‘s excellent early performance and subsequent regression show us that we should not take a two-game sample too seriously. This is reason enough for us to not immediately give Justin Jackson’s roster spot to Kalen Ballage.
However, I fully expect Ballage to prove more valuable than Jackson soon. The reason that I am ready to call this race for a roster spot is Jackson’s durability.
Justin Jackson is a shifty back, and he has shown in the past that he is capable of achieving the level of production that Ballage is right now. However, he has not been able to do maintain that consistently due to injury.
For that reason, even a less-productive version of a hard-running Kalen Ballage will be more useful in the future for the Chargers than Justin Jackson. And for that reason, Kalen Ballage should be the lead back until Ekeler’s return and deserves a spot on the roster moving forward.
Verdict #2: Not an overreaction