Joshua Kelley had an awesome start to the season. After the Bengals game, there was serious optimism that he may be able to beat Justin Jackson out for the second running back role. His running was crisp, confident, and decisive.
In the next few games, Kelley had some fumbles that seemed to eat at his confidence. Coughing up the rock vs. Tampa Bay and Kansas City changed the momentum in a rather large way. The Chargers went on to lose both games.
The next three-quarters of the season were disastrous for Kelley. He averaged three yards per carry on 59 carries. In addition to running efficiency going down, he also lost playing time with two health scratches and one game where he didn’t take an offensive snap.
Blocking clearly overwhelmed him too. He badly missed a Jets’ special team rusher that resulted in a punt block. DeAndre Baker walked in for a sack on Justin Herbert after Kelley missed a block last week.
I still have faith in Kelley going forward, but it’s clear that the lack of a true offseason hurt him. The Chargers opted for more experienced options like Jackson and Kalen Ballage due to consistent mistakes. Luckily for Kelley, he’ll have a full offseason in 2021 to work on what ailed him this season.