Injuries haven’t been kind to the LA Chargers this season, but there is a silver lining with all bad situations.
With running backs Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson both suffering injuries and landing on Injured Reserve at different points throughout the season, the LA Chargers signed Kalen Ballage to a one year deal on November 14th.
Since then, Ballage has been an excellent fit for the Chargers offense, gathering 257 total yards and one touchdown in 3 games. Numbers good enough to wonder if the 3rd year back on his 3rd team deserves a roster spot with the Chargers next season.
Kalen Ballage works so well in the Chargers offense because he has a very similar playing style to Austin Ekeler. They can run between the tackles but excel at catching passes out of the backfield and making defenders miss tackles.
When healthy, the Charger’s backfield has excellent depth and looking at the roster for next season. There shouldn’t be much room for Ballage. Austin Ekeler is a real number one back in the NFL, Justin Jackson provides a great burst of speed, and Joshua Kelly has shown power in the running back position the Chargers haven’t seen in years.
In a dream scenario, those three running backs make up one of the best groups in the NFL. Unfortunately, dreams are just dreams.
The three backs listed above have been disappointing this year. Ekeler and Jackson have been due to injuries but still frustrating none the less.
Josh Kelly started the year strong, but since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game fumble hasn’t been the same running back, we saw in the first three weeks of the season. Ballage has been the most impressive back the Chargers have had on the field this season.
Austin Ekeler is returning from IR this week and could play against the Bills on Sunday, but don’t be surprised to see Ballage get a majority of the snaps as Ekeler gets used to game speed once again.
Kalen Ballage has been a silver lining for the Chargers this season. He has done everything the Chargers have asked and more. With the running back by committee movement growing every season, there is a roster spot for Kalen Ballage next season.
The LA Chargers would be wrong not to extend Ballage to another one or two year deal after the season.