LA Chargers News

The Los Angeles Chargers have a future to be thankful for

Alexander Insdorf
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /

Key players are on track to return.

Austin Ekeler and Chris Harris are on track to come back this week for the Chargers following injuries that kept them out for a while. A return for Drue Tranquill could happen towards the end of the season, but he and Derwin James are both set to come back in 2021 as of now.

Those four players being back next season would be huge for the Chargers. The running back room isn’t the same at all without Ekeler. Kalen Ballage is better suited as a #2 power back than a #1 in the current NFL. Even just having Ekeler spit out wide on occasion gives the defense something to think about, which might allow another receiver to get open.

Harris has definitely been missed, especially when considering the decline of Casey Hayward. Tevaughn Campbell has also had to start at slot corner without Desmond King. Whether he plays opposite Hayward or in the slot, Harris adds valuable playmaking and coverage skills.

This was supposed to be Tranquill’s breakout campaign. If he had played the whole season, I firmly believe he would be the team leader in tackles by a decisive margin. He was second to only Thomas Davis in tackles as a rookie last year. In terms of pass coverage, he’s also more developed than Kenneth Murray.

No one truly knows what the future of James is, unfortunately. As of now, he is projected to make a full recovery by Summer 2021. There are higher odds of reinjuring the knees when you consider his injury history from college though.

If James can play at the level he did in 2018 though, that changes the outlook of the team from being a fringe contender to a true contender. That’s how severe his impact is defensively.

Next. Analyzing 2020's pass rush regression

It’s no guarantee that all of those guys will stay healthy, but any of them coming backfills a hole from this season.

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